Brandon’s Truth and Reconciliation week runs six days but organizers says it’s about more than just a six day program.
Activities at the Riverbank Discovery Centre started Tuesday and will wrap up with closing ceremonies Sunday afternoon.
“We all work together to have a more hands on and more experiences and opportunities for indigenous people to share their stories and more opportunities for non indigenous people to learn about our collective history and the indigenous history specifically because we do have a site where a residential school used to stand” said Michelle LeTourneau with the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council.
Friday September 30th is considered a big day:
Noella Eagle will offer an introductory teaching on Truth and Reconciliation, followed by Dakota Knowledge Keeper Frank Tacan, who will offer a teaching on Orange Shirt Day. That’s at 10 a.m. at the All Nations Sharing Circle at the Discovery Centre.
At 1:00 p.m., at the big tent among the tipis at the Riverbank, a formal event will take place prior to the Orange Shirt Day Walk. This is the agenda:
· Mayor Rick Chrest will offer a few words.
· Chief Jennifer Bone will unveil the honorary street signs that will be located at Grand Valley Road and 18th Street and Grand Valley Road and 34 Street (the road that leads to the site of the former Brandon Indian Residential/Industrial School) – Wokiksuye Canku (Remembrance Road in Dakota). Chief Bone will speak.
· Sioux Valley Dakota Nation’s residential school committee has offered survivors an opportunity to share with those who have gathered for the walk
The walk is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m., once we’ve seen the Elders and Survivors off on a bus that will take them to the residential school site, where they will observe the walkers who pass through the site in support.
One of the goals for Truth and Reconciliation Week is to build stronger relationships among Brandon’s diverse population and the Indigenous people who have lived on these lands for millennia, rooted in mutual respect and understanding.
“More and more every year we’re reaching that objective. Last year what became clear after we held the week was that it’s not just a week and all is said and done. So I think working closely with the City of Brandon and BU and ACC is a positive as we work to have the learning throughout the year and not just during one week” said LeTourneau.
Photos courtesy: keywestPHOTO