Edmonton father, son encourage acts of reconciliation through front-yard art display

·2 min read
Dallas Wreikkinen, right, and his son Augustus Wreikkinen, built a garden dedicated to reconciliation and community service in front of their home in northwest Edmonton.  (Sam Brooks/CBC - image credit)
Dallas Wreikkinen, right, and his son Augustus Wreikkinen, built a garden dedicated to reconciliation and community service in front of their home in northwest Edmonton. (Sam Brooks/CBC - image credit)

An Edmonton father and son duo in northwest Edmonton are encouraging community members to take part in acts of reconciliation through a large display in their front yard.

Dellas Wreikkinen and his 11-year-old son Augustus Wreikkinen put up an art display on the front lawn in the Prince Charles neighbourhood to promote acts of reconciliation.

The large wooden structure on their front lawn is covered in signs of inclusivity, and most notably a list of 150 acts of reconciliation.

After learning about residential schools, Augustus says he wanted to do something.

"I decided to do this because like, you just hear all that bad stuff that's happening on the news. And I was just like, I'm tired of just hearing this and like not doing anything. I want to do something to help the people. "

The 150 acts include reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, supporting Indigenous artists, and learning about Canada's colonial history.

For Dellas, he says his Indigenous heritage had been lost for generations, but his son inspired him to reconnect with his roots.

"It's kind of been pruned from my family history. My great grandmother spoke Cree but it was effectively shamed out of our family… but I don't identify. It's a lost part of my heritage."

Sam Brooks/CBC
Sam Brooks/CBC

After Augustus became aware of the harms committed against Indigenous people in history and present day, he urged his dad to play a more active role in taking action.

Dellas told CBChe always tried to take steps to support the community, but Augustus was the reason he became inspired to make a larger statement, such as the eye-catching art display on their property.

"This all started because of him. I was always an ally but I was always silent… But when my son said he wanted to do something, it inspired me to do more and raise the level.

"I think we inspire each other in that sense, because he'll have an idea or a conversation and we'll talk about what we can do to support our families or communities and we try to come up with ideas and work toward that."

Both Dellas and Augustus say they are in awe of the support they have garnered from their community, and the impact the display has made.

"So it is very much the people in our community that people in my streets that stepped forward and donated their art for charity, and most of them all identified indigenous First Nations charities," Dellas said.

Following Pope Francis' visit to Edmonton, Dellas and Augustus hope people will continue to implement acts of reconciliation and allyship in their lives.

"I think the people need to do what is right, and as much of it as they can," Augustus said. 

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