In photos: A moving monument

Jordan Bennett and Bev Findlay, administrative assistant with the Faculty of Native Studies, share a final high-five for a portage well done!

An artifact-turned-memorial for Aboriginal children who suffered in Canada's residential schools was unveiled at the University of Alberta April 4, 2013. The artwork, a birchbark canoe crafted by a Cree artisan and a paddle made of tiles decorated by Alberta schoolchildren, brought together partners from the U of A and the art-based initiative Project of Heart. After the unveiling, the partners formed a procession to portage the piece from Lister Hall to Pembina Hall, where it will serve as a monument to the strength of residential school survivors. (9 photos total; photos by John Ulan)

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Brendan Hokowhitu, dean of the Faculty of Native Studies (left), and Jordan Bennett, the U of A's indigenous artist-in-residence, heft the 11-foot birchbark canoe down the stairway in Lister Hall.

Drummers set the pace as Jordan Bennett helps carry the canoe across campus.

The procession crosses 87th Avenue on its way to Pembina Hall.

Almost there: The group gets attention as it cuts through the Students' Union Building en route to Pembina Hall.

The portage procession arrives at Pembina Hall, home of the U of A's Faculty of Native Studies, one of the university's oldest historical buildings and a perfect place for a memorial poised between the past and the future.

Jordan Bennett checks the base of the canoe before setting it down. Bennett crafted the epoxy base, then engraved it with the names of the residential schools and the names of 40 Alberta schools whose students decorated the colourful tiles that adorn the canoe and paddle.

The birchbark canoe comes to rest in the main foyer of Pembina Hall, where it will later be suspended from the ceiling as a prominent and powerful symbol of the courage and resiliency of Canada's residential school survivors.

With their journey over, the group steps back to admire the memorial artwork in its new surroundings.