The City of Guelph is marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a number of activities all day long.
City employees that are working on Friday will be wearing orange shirts or orange stickers on their clothing. The lights at city hall and the Guelph Civic Museum will be lit in orange.
City staff are being encouraged to participate in different training opportunities, including attending Indigenous relations awareness training. The city is also encouraging residents to visit Indigenous communities and speak to those who have experienced being in residential schools.
“We encourage members of our community to take some time on September 30 to honour the buried children and survivors of residential schools,” said Sara Sayyed, the city’s senior advisor on equity, anti-racism and Indigenous initiatives. “We are also asking to honour their families and communities by living in the truth of this tragedy, increasing your awareness, and participating in programs and events that are available throughout the city.”
The Civic Museum is hosting a number of events on Friday, including:
- Virtual tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School
- #HopeAndHealingCanada art installation by Métis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers at Riverside Park
- No Word for Art Indigenous beadwork workshop with Naomi Smith, Chippewas of Nawash First Nation
- Conversations in Pipigwan Flute, a presentation by Rene Meshake
“Rene is a survivor of the residential school system,” said museum curator Dawn Owens. “He is an extraordinary Anishinaabe storyteller, poet, musician, and singer/songwriter.”
What’s happening in Guelph to mark first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
All of the events at the museum are free but some do require registration. Owens encourages those who are interested to visit the museum’s website for more information.
This is the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and the ninth Orange Shirt Day. But Owens says Guelph has been honouring Indigenous groups for a long time.
“Sometimes it feels like these moments of remembrance or recognition happen only one day a year,” Owens said. “But it is really just an opportunity to bring our efforts in our community, our relationship-building, our attention to the truth in our history, and our work in reconciliation into focus.”
The University of Guelph is also marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday. It will have a rock art installation outside the front entrance, and a mural of orange butterflies in the atrium.
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