The municipality of West Nipissing is hosting a commemoration ceremony for the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, which takes place in Canada Thursday, September 30.
West Nipissing’s event occurs one day earlier, today, September 29 at 4:00 p.m. at Minnehaha Bay municipal marina in Sturgeon Falls.
During the ceremony, an Every Child Matters flag will be raised, and a proclamation will be issued. All are welcome to attend, and those who do are encouraged to wear an orange shirt.
Orange Shirt Day also falls on September 30. This day commemorates “the residential school experience,” the organization explains on their web site, designed to “witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.”
This annual event takes place across Canada and “opens the door to the global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools.”
The date was chosen “because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes” to attend residential schools, organizers explain.
Along with West Nipissing’s proclamation and flag-raising, the West Nipissing Power Generation dam will also be lit orange to commemorate both days.
“It is important for us,” said Mayor Joanne Savage, “as Municipality and residents, to be part of the reconciliation which is not only this day but every day so we can learn, listen, reflect and engage in meaningful discussions with our First Nation friends, our neighbours.”
On September 30, West Nipissing’s municipal office and community and recreation centres will be closed.
A 24-hour national residential school crisis line to support former students and their families is available at 1-866-925-4419.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca