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Truth and Reconciliation Day 2023 events on Vancouver Island

First Nations, governments, organizations and and churches are marking National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a number of events
Ceremonial Survivors’ Flag flies at the B.C. legislature to honour Indigenous Peoples forced to attend residential schools. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Local First Nations, governments, organizations and and churches are marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a number of events on Sept. 30.

South Island Powwow

Organizer: Songhees Nation

Where: Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia Ave., Victoria

When: Gates will open at 10 a.m. with colours retiring at midnight.

The event honours and recognizes survivors of residential and day schools and their families, the Sixties Scoop and the children who never made it home. It features Indigenous cultural performances, song and dance with two host drums, Sage Hills and Blackfish, along with guest speakers.

Free admission. There will be two traditional grand entries of First Nations — at noon and 6 p.m.


Reconcile: Candid Truth from Survivors

Organizer: Support Network for Indigenous Women & Women of Colour

When: 4:30-7 p.m. (doors open at 4)

Where: St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt St., Victoria

Come watch the acclaimed documentary We Were Children by Tim Wolochatiuk and the listen to elders Patrick Stephenson (Pakayagun) and Aldeen Mason share their own experiences within the systems of removal. Sign up through Eventbrite.

Truth and Reconciliation Day Ride

Organizer: Capital Bike (Victoria)

When: 9:15 a.m.

Where: The ride begins at Songhees Park, near the Johnson Street bridge.

A free nine-kilometre bike ride through downtown Victoria, along Dallas Road and up Vancouver Street to Royal Athletic Park to join the powwow at 11:30. Police will close intersections along the route. Diane Sam, a member of the Songhees First Nation, will open the ride.


Gathering to show solidarity

Organizer: ReconcilACTION Oak Bay Network

Where: Sno’uyutth Welcome Pole, in front of Oak Bay High School, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd.

When: Gather at 9:30 a.m. to listen to speakers and to for 215 seconds of silence.


Screenings: Bones of Crows

Sponsored by: The municipalities of Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney, along with Star Cinema

Where: Star Cinema, 9840 Third St., Sidney

When: Screenings at 2 and 7:30 p.m. (The film is approximately two hours long.)

The film follows the life of a Cree woman as she survives a childhood in the residential school system. Admission by donation, with proceeds going to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.


Screening: Blood in the Rocks

Organizer: Christ Church Cathedral

Where: Christ Church Cathedral, 911 Quadra St., Victoria

When: 7 p.m.

A short video by Kwakwaka’wakw artist-activist Marianne Nicolson about the 1862-63 Victoria smallpox epidemic. Hear from Nicolson and from Snxakila Clyde Michael Tallio, a ceremonial speaker of the Nuxalk First Nation, about the epidemic and the resurgence of B.C.’s First Peoples.

This event is free but online registration through Eventbrite is recommended. Donations will go to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Free family events in Nanaimo

Organizer: The City of Nanaimo

Free public events focused on community well-being with gymnasium sports and games, family play room, bouncy castles, arts and crafts, interactive booths and a Hul’q’umi’num’ StoryWalk.

Where: Oliver Woods Community Centre

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (food trucks onsite)

Free skating and Stick ‘n’ Puck sessions

Where: Nanaimo Ice Centre

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (concession open)

Free swimming and weight room entry

Where: Nanaimo Aquatic Centre

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (food trucks onsite)

Note: Session limits are in effect for the pool.

Orange Day in the Bay

Organizers: Peter Hudson and Tyler Bob

Where: Huddlestone Park, Lantzville

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Orange Day in the Bay 2023 will feature speakers, ceremony, live music, comedy, food and vendors. The lineup includes performances by James Vickers, Aspects, Sirreal, Myc Sharratt, Whirly Bird and Tzinquaw Dancers. Comedy acts include performances by Keith Martin Nahanee, Patti Savard and Ryan Lachance. Entry is by donation (suggested: $20 per family) to the tthuw mukw’mulstimuxw (Setut) group, which focuses on language classes, art, history and sports.

Tseshaht First Nation public walk and art show

Organizers: Tseshaht First Nation

Where: Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel, 4277 Stamp Ave., Port Alberni

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Join Tseshaht First Nation in a day of honouring survivors, celebrating resilience, healing through culture and creating joy. All welcome to attend. An art show with work by children who attended the Alberni Indian Residential School begins at 10, while the walk starts at 11.

For more information:

Free public swim and skate in Campbell River

Organizer: City of Campbell River/Strathcona Regional District

Where: Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex, 225 S Dogwood St., Campbell River

When: Swimming is 1:30-4 p.m.; skating and pond hockey 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Free family events include a public swim and everyone-welcome skate and pond hockey. (Note that regular programming will be cancelled but the arena will remain open for all pre-booked user groups.)

Every Child Matters Walk

Organizer: Laichwiltach Family Life Society

Where: Spirit Square in Campbell River

When: 11 a.m.

The Laichwiltach Family Life Society invites all to come and join in and witness the eighth Annual Every Child Matters walk. An honouring ceremony and a light lunch will follow.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation exhibit

Organizer: Clayoquot Biosphere Trust with partners

Where: Ucluelet Secondary School, 1450 Peninsula Rd., Ucluelet

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A exhibition of student projects on the history and legacy of the Canadian Indian residential school system.

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