Sunday, April 21, 2024

Here’s how Greater Victoria is recognizing National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


On September 30th, Canadians come together to support Indigenous communities and honour, acknowledge and recognize the harm caused by the residential school systems on generations of Indigenous people and communities across the country.

On that day, Canada recognizes National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day,for the second time in our country’s history.

This year, all 13 municipalities that make up Greater Victoria say they plan on banding together to honour the lost children and survivors of the residential schooling system together.

They’ve collectively reached out to nine Indigenous communities in and around Greater Victoria for guidance in how to recognize this somber holiday.

The Songhees Nation, Esquimalt Nation, Sc’ianew First Nation, T’Sou-ke Nation, Tsartlip First Nation, Tsawout First Nation, Tseycum First Nation, Pauquachin First Nation and Malahat First Nation have had input in how our municipalities can best recognize the impact of residential schools on their communities and families.

At the request of Indigenous leaders, flags will be flown at half-mast on September 30th.

The Songhees Nation has collaborated with the municipalities to plan the South Island Powwow to be held at Royal Athletic Park on September 30th.

The Powwow is free to attend and will go all day from 10 a.m. until midnight. to 12 a.m. on October 1st.

On their website the Songhees Nation stated, “we believe September 30th is a day to reflect and celebrate our culture. For this reason, we will only be hosting intertribal dance groups, with no competition. We will sing and dance together, not against one another. This is a time to memorialize our past and future.”

In the City of Victoria, ‘Xe xe Smun’ eem’ also known as the Orange Shirt Day Ceremony will be held in Centennial Square from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on September 30th.  from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

There will also be a Truth and Reconciliation Day bike ride organized by GoByBikeBC on the 30th.

The family-friendly bike ride will start at 10 a.m. in Songhee Park and follow the All Ages and Abilities (AAA) bike network to Royal Athletic Park for 11:45 a.m., just in time for the South Island Powwow.

Other local activities and initiatives are being organized locally and some municipalities are committing financial contributions to Indigenous led initiatives and activities.

In a media release made by the 13 municipalities that make up Greater Victoria, they say they will continue to evolve how they recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation through the years as local governments continue to grow their relationships with First Nations.

Curtis Blandy

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