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How to honour Truth and Reconciliation Day in Golden

It’s meant to be a day of remembrance, similar to Nov. 11
Truth and Reconciliation day in Golden. (Claire Palmer photo)

There is content in this article about residential schools that may be triggering to some readers.

In 2021, the federal government passed Bill C-5, declaring Sept. 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This year marks the second time that the day will be observed.

The day coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which was an informal holiday that encouraged people to wear Orange on Sept. 30 to honour and commemorate the residential school experience, and witness the healing journey of survivors and their families.

It was a grassroots campaign founded by Phyllis Webstad.

Orange Shirt Day grew out of her own experiences and the experiences of other residential school survivors who attended St. Joseph’s Mission near Williams Lake

In Golden, there are several ways that you can honour the day.

The Metis Nation Columbia River has some events coming up for Day of Truth and Reconciliation, starting with a Ceremony of Remembrance at the Spirit Square, 11 a.m.

At this time, a new bench will be unveiled in honour of the children who were lost at Residential Schools.

The ceremony will also feature speeches, drumming and fiddling.

At 12:30 p.m., there will be an unveiling of the new mural on the side of DJ’s Paper Place. It will showcase local Metis history and culture, with local fiddling and drumming by Moose Luke accompanying.

After that, there will be an elders’ lunch.

At 3 p.m., a showing of the locally created film, Susap, will be offered, and it will be shown nightly at 7 p.m. throughout the following week.

The film shares the life journey of Robert Louie Sr., a descendant to Flat-bow Kutenais of Lower Division, and how his teachings as a child helped sustain him throughout his life. Robert Louie escaped from the Kootenay Indian School near Cranbrook when he was seven years old, it took him 21 days to make his way, on foot, back to his Lower Kootenay Band home, through the forests and mountains between Cranbrook and Creston.

Through the strong oral teachings, Louie came to know himself, his people, their history, their systems of beliefs, ways of life, the oral teachings, motif folklore theme tale stories, and geographical ancestral homeland settings.

Often grandparents and river neighbors quizzed Louie before bedding down for the night – an expression of honouring their ancestors, their sacrifices, their practices in keeping their prayers and dreams alive through generational retention of the knowledge.

Voices of the Ancestors will play prior to Susap, based on the oral history lessons of Louie.

Golden residents are encouraged to wear orange on the day.

Most public schools, post-secondary institutions, research universities, Crown corporations and B.C. government offices will be closed.

Truth and Reconciliation Day is meant to be a day of reflection, like Remembrance Day. It was one of the 94 recommendations in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report.

If you are interested in reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, something recommended to those looking to educate themselves, you can do so online.

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience. Non-emergency calls to The Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society can be directed to 1-800-721-0066.

Claire Palmer

About the Author: Claire Palmer

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