Town to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day

September 30 is National Truth and Reconciliation Day. To mark the occasion, the Town of Drayton Valley will be showing a film called Bones of Crows.

Lola Strand, the Community Services Manager for the Town, says the reason for the recognition of the holiday is thanks to a decision that the Town Council made in 2022.

“It is a result of the Town Council’s decision to begin using a land acknowledgment and recognize the federal holiday,” says Strand. She says they had requested that administration start working with indigenous community representatives, as well as provide educational opportunities for residents.

Strand says last year’s round dance was a huge success, but they felt it lacked an educational aspect to it. That’s why they have decided to show a movie based on the actual events of the life of Aline Spears at the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre on September 30 and in the high schools on September 29.

“We wanted to help people understand what happened and how the day came to be,” says Strand. “I think education is the key to moving forward.”

Spears was part of the Manitoba Cree Nation, and was placed in a residential school as a child. After she finished her schooling, she went on to join the military and played a significant role as a code talker in WWII thanks to her retention of the Cree language.

“Universities are even using this movie as part of their curriculum,” says Strand. “It’s a trusted, valid educational piece.”

Strand says Alison Struth, the founder of Inoqom Education and educator of Indigenous Studies, stepped forward to help the Town put on an educational event this year.

In an email interview, Struth said, “Explicit education of residential and day schools, and the true history of Canada is essential for all. Without knowing, truly knowing, we cannot work towards reconciliation. Bones of Crows allows a true view of the life of victims of these institutions. I encourage all to view this movie and to seek knowledge of Canada’s True History.”

Linda Prentice, a local indigenous elder, says she says the Town is very much on board with recognizing the importance of this day. “I’ve lived here for 45 years, and I am very grateful for the Town stepping up,” she says.

Prentice and her sister were part of the planning committee for the round dance last year, and she says she feels Bones of Crows is an excellent movie for this holiday.

The movie will be shown at the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre on September 30, at 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Rotary House, the Drayton Valley Devon constituency office, and Drayton Valley Value Drug Mart.

Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Drayton Valley and District Free Press