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: tseshaht.com/event/national-day-for-truth-reconciliation
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.