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6000 Points of Light: Acknowledging Children of Residential Schools with Pointillism Art

By Melissa B., Halton Youth Initiative Youth Volunteer

October 8, 2020

On Orange Shirt Day, September 30th, we invited a special guest, indigenous artist Delree Dumont, for a virtual meeting art showcase. Delree is an International Cree artist from Crossfield, Alberta, Canada. She has been an artist since she was young, and is inspired by people and the environment around her. It was an honor to have her with us!

During the workshop, Delree showed us some of her paintings, then talked about the inspirations and meaning behind each art piece. Delree also showed her newly created work specifically for Orange Shirt Day, where each dot represents a child who was mistreated in residential school. The stories behind each dot touched on everyone’s feelings. Later on, she also demonstrated her style of pointillism. We also got the chance to interact with her by asking her questions, where we also got to learn more about Indigenous art and culture. One thing that interests me the most is the “spirit animal”, the animal that one often dreams about and interacts with. For Delree, it's a bear- an animal that often appears in her work, that symbolizes courage and confidence. Overall, the showcase with Delree was successful and we really enjoyed it!

As part of our Truth and Reconciliation journey, we were learning and understanding the truth behind colonization, land claims, and residential schools. Our group is learning about Indigenous cultures by taking a comprehensive step toward Indigenous art. Aside from the art showcase we did with Delree, we are also planning on sending printed cards to the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, with Delree’s art piece on one side and the message written by youth on the other side. We believe it’s very crucial to express youth perspectives, to spread the words that the new generation is not ignoring these historical issues. Our goal is to share our newfound knowledge and let the Indigenous community know that we value their history, language, and culture and are stepping up as allies.

This is not the endpoint of our journey- we will continue to learn and discover the truth as we go along!

To watch the video of our artist showcase with Delree and the amazing pieces she showed us.

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