This September marks the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and to mark the occasion the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation collaborated with the Royal Canadian Mint and three Indigenous artists to release a new Truth and Reconciliation Keepsake medallion. Nunatsiavut Inuk artist Jason Sikoak worked with Red River Métis artist JD Hawk and Treaty One Territory Cree artist Leticia Spence to create the design on the coin.
Sikoak, who previously designed artwork for the Mint in 2021, is a multimedia artist based in Montreal whose art often explores Indigenous politics and Inuit spirituality.
Their work has been included in shows across Canada, including the 2022 Contemporary Native Art Biennial, Nunatsiavut, Our Beautiful Land in 2019, and the touring exhibition SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (2017). They are currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Art in Studio Arts at Concordia University in Montreal, QC.
Sikoak was honoured and humbled by the opportunity to participate in this project. In conversation, they noted that each artist initially created their work individually and then collaborated on how to tie their art together on the medallion.
“The only thing that we found that we all had in common was that there are berries in Inuit Nunangat and where everybody else is from too,” said Sikoak. “Right in the centre of the medallion there’s a little design of berries connecting the designs together.”
Sikoak’s portion of the design depicts the northern lights, an ulu, Inuit dressed in traditional clothing and Inuit tattoo designs, to showcase multiple elements of Inuit culture.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is an advocacy organization that works to educate the general public on the knowledge and stories of residential and federal day school survivors. All proceeds from the sale of the Truth and Reconciliation Keepsake coin will support the work of their Na-mi-quai-ni-mak Community Support Fund. The keepsake is available for purchase for $9.95 CAD on the Mint website.