September 30 is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (also known as Orange Shirt Day). The day honours the children who never returned home from residential schools, along with their families and communities. There are a few opportunities popping up around Calgary where you can participate in supportive, educational, and community-building events.
Know of more events happening in your community to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The day begins at 9:30 am, with the Pokaiks Commemorative Walk & IndigiTRAILS. The walk will begin at the big stage in Prince’s Island Park and will follow a route through the park and across the river along Memorial Drive, before concluding back in the park. This will be followed by traditional drumming and dancing performances, remarks from members of the Indigenous community, a reconciliation panel discussion, artisan and community booths, food and beverage offerings, and other engaging activities in Prince’s Island Park.
Out near Longview, you’ll find Keith Lefthand’s Family Ranch and you are invited to come and spend the day at the ranch. You can participate in a smudge ceremony and prayer in Keith’s tipi, learn about the regalia that Keith has collected over the years, and join a discussion with Keith about the history and culture of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. There will also be opportunities to hike up the hill to the south of Keith’s family ranch, swim in the swimming hole on the north side (bring a swimsuit and towel), and of course, enjoy Indian tacos ($25 including a drink).
September 30 is the last day to view the Colouring It Forward Art Installation at Southcentre Mall. The exhibit showcases a variety of works from 8 local Indigenous artists and is located in the Centre Court.
The Military Museums will be open on September 30, with 50% off admission. They will be offering guided tours to speak about the history and legacy of residential schools and they recommend you pre-register.
During the afternoon, you can head to Fort Calgary for an Orange Shirt Day Walking Tour. This free walking tour begins at 2 pm and will confront the colonial history of Fort Calgary, discuss the ongoing work to decolonize the stories, and share insights about what we have learned about reconciliation so far.
In the evening, make a plan to attend the Every Child Matters Traditional Powwow, taking place at the Scotiabank Saddledome. It’s in partnership with Siksika Health Services and the Calgary Hitmen and admission is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item or article of winter clothing. No tickets are required for entry into the Saddledome and seating is first-come and first-served.
You could also get tickets to New Blood – A Story of Reconciliation at Calgary Arts Commons. This is a widely acclaimed theatre production featuring poetry, music, and contemporary and traditional dance. The show is inspired by the life of Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman and it’s about his experience as a child in a residential school, how he reclaimed his way of life, and how he became chief of his people. The show is committed to equitable access in the Pay-What-You-Can model.
This Friday, wear your orange shirt and find a way to honour those who never came home.