Niagara Parks to honour Truth and Reconciliation Day in two-day event

Photo by D. Clark on Unsplash

Content warning: discussion of Canada’s residential school system.

On Sept. 29, the beginning of a two day series of free public events will be held by Niagara Parks for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This will be the time where Canadians come together to reflect on the atrocities that occurred, and the ongoing effects the Canadian residential school system. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, takes place on Sept. 30.

On Sept. 29, the event will open with a free-to-attend concert titled TREATY: A Reconciliation Revelry, which will largely feature Indigenous musicians. This event will take place by the old Niagara Parks Power Station, near Horseshoe Falls. The concert is intended to bring awareness to the contributions Indigenous peoples have made towards Canada. The concert will be produced and directed by Tim Johnson, a Mohawk individual from Six Nations of the Grand River.

The events will continue on Sept. 30 at 7 a.m. with a Sunrise Ceremony led by Jackie Labonte and the lighting of a ceremonial fire by Dave Labbe.

At 10 a.m., attendees will honour the 150,000 children and their families who have been affected by residential schools through the Beyond the Orange Shirt Story event led by Phyllis Webstad, the creator of Orange Shirt Day. The event will display the origins of Orange Shirt Day and is intended to inspire cultural understanding and reconciliation.

To conclude the event, Niagara Falls will be lit in an orange light for 15 minutes every hour between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Orange is the central colour used for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and is chosen as a reference to the colour of shirt Phyllis Webstad was given by her grandmother prior to arriving to her first day at residential school.

The events held by Niagara Parks will be displaying an attempt at spreading resolution, recognition, understanding, and respect towards Indigenous peoples. Read more about the event on Niagara Parks’ official website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *