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Spirit Bear and Children Make History exhibit coming to Prince George

Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS), the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (Caring Society), and The Exploration Place, in partnership with Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, have announced a first-of-its-kind exhibit is opening in Prince George on Friday, June 7.

Designed for children, Spirit Bear and Children Make History celebrates the true story of how children of all diversities stood, and continue to stand, with First Nations children, youth, and adults to address inequalities in First Nations
children’s services so they can grow up healthy and proud.

Spirit Bear and Children Make History will be on display at The Exploration Place and will run until the end of September 2024. Spirit Bear and Children Make History is a multimedia exhibit with interactive elements featuring puppets and sets from Spirit Bear’s four stop-motion animated films, which are based on the Spirit Bear books written by Cindy Blackstock.

“The inspiring reconciliation actions of the children are woven into Spirit Bear’s series of children’s books and have been transformed into stop-motion animation featuring hand-crafted puppets and sets created by the award-winning Indigenous studio Spotted Fawn Productions,” said Blackstock, Executive Director of the Caring Society. “Scenes from the books and films are set in Lheidli T’enneh First Nation territory and the City of Prince George, so it is particularly fitting to host this inaugural museum exhibit in the places that Spirit Bear calls home.”

“We are honoured to host this exhibit in partnership with our dear friends at the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, The Exploration Place, and Lheidli T’enneh First Nation,” said Mary Teegee-Gray, Executive Director of Child & Family Services at CSFS. “Spirit Bear is a powerful symbol that is representative of the work conducted at CSFS in bettering the lives of Indigenous children, youth, and families – which is all part of reconciliation. Our goal with this exhibit is to respect the rich history, culture, language, and contributions of First Nations across Canada, and learn from the past, including residential schools, in ways that inspire implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.”

There are 94 Calls to Action as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which seeks to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation in Canada.

“We were thrilled when our partners approached us about hosting this exhibit,” said Robyn Curtis, The Exploration Place’s VP – Development & Partnerships. “It ties in with so much of our ongoing work around reconciliation and our efforts to share stories that resonate with all ages. From the outset, we recognized that The Exploration Place would be the perfect venue for this exhibit. We are extremely honoured and proud to be a part of it and to contribute to the dialogue around reconciliation in our community.”

“Lheidli T’enneh is honoured to see this exhibit launch at the Exploration Place, on our traditional territory,” said Chief Dolleen Logan, on behalf of Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. “As a symbol of peace, harmony, and balance, the Spirit Bear is emblematic of the way in which Lheidli T’enneh has approached the work we do and stories we share. It’s important to recognize that our pathway to reconciliation includes teaching and learning, and that learning begins with the youth and our future leaders. Spirit Bear’s symbolism to the children and youth involved in the First Nations child welfare case at the
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is part of the healing journey.”

Spirit Bear is a ‘membear’ of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. He represents the over 165,000 First Nations children impacted by the First Nations child welfare case at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal addressing the inequalities in First Nations children’s services. Thousands of children in Canada know and love Spirit Bear and, last year, tens of millions of children around the world learned about him and the children’s reconciliation stories he holds as part of the World’s Children’s Prize awarded to Gitxsan activist and Spirit Bear friend, Cindy Blackstock.

To learn more about Spirit Bear, please see the following resources:
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society – Spirit Bear:
Spirit Bear TV, where you can watch all the Spirit Bear films for free:
Spirit Bear music video:

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