The public has some local opportunities to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, including a discussion on residential schools and reconciliation.
The Stɑl̓əw̓ Arts and Culture Society and Langley Township have announced A Community Conversation About Residential Schools and Reconciliation, an event taking place Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Chief Sepass Theatre.
Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Tuesday night’s event will allow participants to take some time to recognize and reflect on the longstanding effects of the residential school system on Indigenous families and communities. The event goes from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and the theatre is at 9096 Trattle St. in Fort Langley. There is no admission charge.
The panelists include former school trustee Cecelia Reekie, Kelly Duncan, elder Josette Dandurand, educator Luke Dandurand, and Amber Kalman. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Lindsay Foreman, curator of Indigenous Arts and Culture with the Township of Langley. This session will be opened and closed by the q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen) drummers and singers.
• Langley Senior Resource Society Centre
The seniors centre walking group will gather at the centre, 20605 51B Ave. at 10 a.m. on Friday to start a walk. The public is invited to join in and encouraged to wear orange.
• Lower Fraser Valley Indigenous Society event
The public is also invited to the Derek Doubleday Arboretum Friday evening for a ceremony slated to run from 7 to 9 p.m.
The site has had wood crosses as a memorial. They were put up a months ago, after the news of remains being found at residential schools. Ground-penetrating radar showed remains at the former school in Kamloops and the news was announced in May 2021.
It was the site for last year’s event for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
• Kwantlen Polytechnic University
All five Kwantlen Polytechnic University campuses will be lit up in orange this week to demonstrate the university’s commitment to reconciliation and honour Indigenous Peoples ahead of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
“It is important for us who are uninvited settlers in this land to recognize the profound and unacknowledged loss of life and culture and ways of being as a result of colonization, especially the thousands of lives of the missing residential school children,” said Dr. Alan Davis, president of KPU. “Lighting our campuses orange is a display of solidarity with Indigenous communities, and allows us to reflect on what truth and reconciliation means.”
Orange lights began reflecting on buildings at KPU campuses Monday in Surrey, Richmond and Langley, continuing throughout the week each evening after sundown.
Sept. 30, 2022, marks the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, honouring the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
It is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led effort that raises awareness of the impacts of residential schools and promotes the concept of “Every Child Matters.”
KPU will be observing this as a statutory day for remembrance, reflection, action and learning, and campuses will be closed. A list of external events to help students and staff on their path to truth and reconciliation is available on the KPU website.
“We encourage the KPU community to use this time to reflect on, to commemorate and to acknowledge the tragic and painful history, ongoing impact, and continuing trauma of Canada’s residential school legacy. And to consider what each of us can do to foster reconciliation,” Davis said.
The National Residential School Crisis Line, which offers emotional support and crisis referral services for residential school survivors and their families, can be reached toll-free at 1-866-925-4419.
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