Crosswalk, walkway featuring sacred Caldwell First Nation symbols coming to Kingsville

·2 min read
Renderings of the artwork coming to a part of Kingsville show a crosswalk with colourful fish swimming south and a circular pathway with animals and their associated Indigenous value. (Caldwell First Nation - image credit)
Renderings of the artwork coming to a part of Kingsville show a crosswalk with colourful fish swimming south and a circular pathway with animals and their associated Indigenous value. (Caldwell First Nation - image credit)

Colourful fish will soon be swimming along a crosswalk in downtown Kingsville as part of a new art design showcasing sacred Indigenous teachings.

Kingsville council approved the designs earlier this week, which were brought forward by Caldwell First Nation, Kingsville artist Brianne Taggart and graphic artist Kristine Verbeek. The artwork is the first of its kind in the Kingsville region, but those involved hope it's not the last.

The fish crosswalk will be located at Pearl Street West and Division Street South and represent displaced Indigenous souls that are returning home to Lake Erie.

"I think what goes around that piece is the [dispersal] of Caldwell First Nation and us being all over Turtle Island just because we were never given that space to call home and now, many know, that in November 2020, Caldwell finally got that reserve status for a piece of land here. That's what we're hoping that those people will start coming back home," said Carrie Ann Peters, the culture and language coordinator for Caldwell First Nation.

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC
Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

The crosswalk will lead to more symbols outside of Kingsville's Carnegie Centre. These will include several animal graphics representing essential Anishinaabe values to living a good life, such as love, truth and respect.

"Those animals were here before we were here. So they were our teachers, so when we came here we observed those animals and watched how they were with the environment and how they took care of things, where they went to eat, so each of those animals has a teaching behind it," Peters said.

In addition to the meaning behind the artwork, local artist Taggart said the designs will also brighten up a part of downtown Kingsville.

"Some people don't feel included in certain parts of cities or towns, but by including them with a sidewalk or something that brings a little bit of [colour], I think people will be more cheerful and happy," Taggart said, adding that she hopes more towns will follow suit.

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC
Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said he hopes the artwork will bring the community together and allow residents to learn more about Indigenous culture.

"We can't ignore what we've been learning and discovering with our Indigenous people and the community and the challenges, the struggles, the sacrifices and the loss. [This is] an opportunity to bring all those messages together ... to have a place where we can learn it, that meant something to me," he said.

Council is now waiting on a report from administration that will outline the cost of the crosswalk, the type of paint that will be used and a timeline to get the graphics in place.

Santos said he hopes the artwork will be up before the end of the year.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting