These are some events and things to do on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) including the special lighting on federal buildings, Indigenous films, radio and TV programming, art exhibitions and connecting with authors online.
What is a reconciliACTION?
According to The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjak Fund, a reconciliACTION is a meaningful action that moves reconciliation forward. ReconciliACTIONs bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together in the spirit of reconciliation to create awareness, share, and learn. It is the answer to belated Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie’s call to ‘Do Something’ to raise further awareness, that improves the lives of Indigenous people, or that improves the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Both government lead and grassroots events would qualify as reconciliACTIONs. I’ve shared some of the events that I followed from my Inbox with you below:
The Government of Canada has an official list of events to commemorate the day on their website. The events include the illumination of Parliament Hill, CBC/Radio-Canada and APTN broadcasts, a pre-taped APTN Sunrise Ceremony featuring drummers, singers, elders and various Indigenous traditions, and a five-day bilingual, educational week of events for grade school students. They also provide resources and access to mental health services.
Illuminating Parliament Hill
Buildings across Canada, including the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, will be illuminated in orange on September 29 and/or September 30, from 7:00 pm to sunrise the next morning.
Buildings are lit in orange because of the association with Orange Shirt Day, which also falls on September 30. Find out the difference between the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day.
Worldwide ‘Drum to Honour the Children’
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc calls on people worldwide to drum simultaneously for the missing children of Indian Residential Schools for the first Canadian National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. After a global outpouring of interest and support for the missing children from the Kamloops Indian Residential School, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is offering a way for people to connect, support and ground into society the importance of this day. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is calling upon people around the world to gather – safely – to drum and sing with them for the missing children of Indian Residential Schools. September 30 at 2:15 p.m. Pacific time. From The Wellness Almanac, an inspiring blog run by Lisa Richardson out of British Columbia.
Truth and Reconciliation Day: Katherena Vermette in Conversation with Janet Rogers
On the inaugural Truth and Reconciliation Day, join Katherena Vermette, author of The Strangers, in conversation with poet Janet Rogers. Tickets are free to join live September 30 at 6 p.m. EDT. More Details.
Live Broadcast and Discussion of the Film Beans with Tracey Deer
Innis College will host a free, live broadcast of the film Beans by filmmaker Tracey Deer. Winner of the 2021 Canadian Screen Award for Best Picture and inspired by true events, Beans is about a Mohawk girl on the cusp of adolescence who must grow up fast and become her own kind of warrior during the armed stand-off known as the 1990 Oka Crisis. Following the film, Innis will host an online discussion with Deer. September 30, 6–8:30 p.m.
Indigo Live: Jesse Wente in-conversation with Rose Lipton
Join Anishinaabe writer Jesse Wente as he talks about his part-memoir, part-manifesto Unreconciled: Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance. Watch live on Instagram@indigo on September 30 at 7 p.m. EDT.
Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts
This exhibition features new scores, performances, videos, sculptures and sound by Indigenous and other artists who respond to the question of “How can a score be a call and tool for decolonization?” The scores take the form of beadwork, videos, objects, graphic notation, historical belongings, and written instructions. These scores are activated at specific moments by musicians, dancers, performers and members of the public gradually filling the gallery and surrounding public spaces with sound and action. Soundings shifts and evolves, gaining new artists and players on its travels to different locations. At the core of the exhibition is a grounding in concepts of Indigenous land and territory, to move beyond acknowledgement to offering instructions for sensing and listening to Indigenous histories. Presented by Independent Curators International, this exhibition is at the Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Alta. until December 5.
Canadian Muslim Groups Launch Indigenous Education Program for Youth
For three months, students from across Canada will have a chance to study Indigenous history and values as part of a unique program launched this year to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Muslim-Indigenous Connection promises to engage Canadian Muslim youth cohorts in cultivating inclusion and connectedness with First Nations culture and knowledge. Participants will reflect on the atrocities committed against Indigenous Peoples, while encouraging constructive dialogue on healing and reconciliation. Students will take part in training sessions, panel discussions and engagement sessions with Indigenous elders and Muslim leaders. The program concludes with a site visit to a First Nations community and a cultural centre, to look at past and present realities of an historic former residential school. The program is organized by Justice For All Canada, the KAICIID International Fellows Programme and Zulfaa Foundation. Applicants can register until October 4.
Simcoe County Flag-Raising
In recognition and commemoration of those affected by the residential school system across Canada, the County of Simcoe has raised the Every Child Matters flag at the County Administration Office, where it will remain raised until the Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2021.
Indigenous Culture on Film at the NFB
The NFB has put together a selection of films by Indigenous filmmakers and allies on the devastating impact—and ongoing legacy—of residential schools in Canada. I watched Our People Will Be Healed, Alanis Obomsawin’s 50th film, about how a Cree community in Manitoba. The Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre in Norway House, an area north of Winnipeg, receives a level of funding that few other Indigenous institutions enjoy. It’s a larger school where teachers help their students to develop their abilities and their sense of pride. I enjoyed this documentary. Obomsawin really connects with the people in this film, about a beautiful school with enriching programs and teachers from many parts of the country and the world. Their programs incorporate traditional and modern ways. Their music program is inspiring and could be an example for all.
New Book: Probably Ruby
Read a book. Lisa Bird-Wilson’s new book Probably Ruby, about an adopted woman’s search for her Indigenous identity, is a good read recommended by the publisher Penguin Random House.
by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird