The Saskatoon Tribal Council is putting on a concert to coincide with the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day this fall, in honour of residential school survivors.
The Every Child Matters concert at SaskTel Centre on Sept. 30 will feature Gord Bamford, Charlie Major and George Canyon.
The event will also feature speakers, fiddle music and drum groups.
Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Marc Arcand says the discovery of unmarked graves at former residential school sites across the country in recent months has been devastating to Indigenous people.
"It's like a second pandemic for us as indigenous people who went through a worldwide pandemic," Arcand said at a news conference on Tuesday.
"It's just like more trauma.… And so we're trying to get people back to some sort of normalcy and some happiness. And here's a good way to just sit around and enjoy some good food and be together and have a good time."
The event is also meant to provide an opportunity for the community at large to come together.
"The city of Saskatoon and the surrounding small towns, and the provinces and Canada as a whole have to start improving the lives of Indigenous people in our communities so we can all have a quality of life," Arcand said.
Sept. 30 was designated earlier this year as an annual statutory holiday to commemorate the legacy of residential schools in Canada.
Federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said in June the day is intended as a chance to learn about and reflect on a dark chapter in Canada's history, and to commemorate survivors — as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Indigenous leaders.
Arcand said the Saskatoon Tribal Council is trying to hold events every month as a way to further awareness and education about residential schools. The Sept. 30 concert is another way to do that, he said.
"We all know that music brings people together. It's a joy. It's calming, it's soothing. So when we look at this, we say 'every child matters,' and mean we must do better for generations of children to come."
In the last few months, the tribal council has also partnered with SaskTel Centre in delivering about 28,000 COVID-19 vaccines.
Proceeds from the concert will go to support programs for those impacted by residential schools, Arcand said.
Scott Ford, executive director of SaskTel Centre, said Saskatchewan's health rules and regulations will be followed for the event, which means there will be no restrictions on the number of people allowed into the concert.
"[The rules] are similar to when you go to a [Saskatchewan Roughriders] game," Ford said.
"We have increased sanitization and cleaning in the building, of course. But right now there are no restrictions on this concert.
"If something changes, we would act accordingly. But right now, we're following Saskatchewan health and the province's rules and regulations as they apply to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Tickets for the concert cost $35 and go on sale Wednesday.