Reconciliation Nipawin will host an informal Truth and Reconciliation walk to coincide with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30.
The walk, which is open to the public, will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Nipawin’s town square. Sharon Meyer, the North East School Division’s First Nation and Métis consultant, will make opening remarks before moving on to a smudging ceremony.
The walk will commence after heading towards the downtown section, around the town office, and then returning by the Nipawin and Area Early Years Family Resource Centre.
The event is expected to end by 12:30 p.m.
“With Reconciliation Nipawin we’ve demonstrated year after year a commitment with the every child matters public campaign that’s been happening,” said Rhonda Teichreb, Reconciliation Nipawin’s co-chair.
“Now that the Government of Canada has identified and declared Sept. 30 the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to pause and remember and honour and learn – we just feel it’s important for us to continue on with the work that we have been doing.”
Past events have included round dances, but Teichreb said they’ve decided to both delay the organizing of the event until late September and not include the round dance due to the local high COVID-19 numbers.
“We just felt we didn’t want to have a gathering of such a large size, so we felt something informal – this walk would be an appropriate way to acknowledge the day.”
Teichreb also advised the public, when buying an orange shirt for the day, to ensure that it’s bought from an Indigenous person or organization, or that proceeds are given back to First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities.
Participants are asked to wear a mask during the walk. Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, are asked not to attend.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. The day began in 2013, telling the story of a residential school survivor who had her shiny new orange shirt taken away from her upon arriving at St. Joseph Mission residential school.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday made by Parliament on June 3, 2021, as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration.
Former Residential School students can call 1-866-925-4419 for emotional crisis referral services and information on other health supports from the Government of Canada. Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week for counselling and crisis intervention at 1-855-242-3310.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal