REGINA -- On National Indigenous Peoples Day, a traditional ceremony marked a spiritual step forward at the future site of a monument honouring and remembering those who attended residential schools at Government House in Regina.

“I have ensured through advice and through conversations and outreach with elders and survivors that we do this the right way and follow appropriate protocols," said Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty.

Premier Scott Moe credits Mirasty's work to find a place that will allow people to visit the monument and reflect.

"[Mirasty's] intent of creating that quiet place of reflection, a place for people to sit and reflect on how residential schools have impacted their family, themselves, their friends, and also to use it a place for education for the broader population," said Moe.

The ceremony served to bless the land where the memorial will eventually be built, with the added significance of holding it on the solstice.

"This is when they pray to the land, connect to the other living creatures on the earth," said Joseph Naytowhow, an Indigenous knowledge keeper.

The ceremony is further amplified by recent discoveries of unmarked graves at residential school sites, with more searches set to be conducted.

“Kamloops and every other location that has that tragic news that’s there and we’ll find out about, it certainly reinforces the importance of the work here," Mirasty said. “In spite of the sadness at times, the elders express hope for the future, and I think that’s just as important.”

The physical work on the site is expected to begin soon as officials finalize the details of the eventual monument.