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Local actor Eugene Brave Rock speaks at start of Lethbridge Reconciliation Week

WATCH: Lethbridge’s third annual Reconciliation Week kicked off Monday. Eugene Brave Rock spoke about his experiences growing up in Lethbridge, representing Canadian Indigenous people on the world stage in his acting roles, and how reconciliation should be “more than just a conversation." Emily Olsen reports.

Reconciliation Week is back for the third year in Lethbridge and began Monday with a flag-raising ceremony outside Lethbridge City Hall.

READ MORE: Lethbridge hopes advisory committee will build bridges, relationships with First Nations

The ceremony was followed by a Reconciliation Walk with members of the community to show solidarity with Indigenous communities in the area.

This year is focused on the preservation of languages. As a first step, the city council approved “Oki” as its official greeting.

READ MORE: Lethbridge adopts ‘Oki’ as city’s official greeting

Here is a list of events happening for Reconciliation Week:

  • Screening of the National Film Board film The Sacred Sundance at Lethbridge Public Library Theatre Gallery on Monday, Sept. 16
  • Blackfoot cooking class at the Interfaith Food Bank on Tuesday, Sept. 17
  • Free Workshop: The Community is the Medicine at Lethbridge Public Library on Tuesday, Sept. 17
  • Blackfoot language classes at the Galt Museum and Archives on Thursday, Sept. 20
  • Tipi Stage at the Word On The Street Festival at Lethbridge Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 22
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READ MORE: New stat holiday proposed to mark Indigenous reconciliation set for Sept. 30

Eugene Brave Rock, a Lethbridge local and international actor best known for his role in Wonder Woman, was the keynote speaker for Monday’s events.

He described the discrimination he experienced as a child from strangers on the street, and the lack of Indigenous history taught in school.

“I had to take notes on Dances with Wolves,” Brave Rock said.

“That was it. We spent two months on China, Japan, two months on Germany. You know, it’s really sad when we have so much culture and history right across the river here.”

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Brave Rock says although Lethbridge has changed significantly, there is still work to be done to educate young Indigenous people on their roots, their history and their languages.

“That knowledge of who I am and where I come from… I come from a long line of leaders and chiefs,” he said.

“These days, our youth think they only come from the [reserves]. The don’t. This is all Blackfoot country.”

Reconciliation Week continues until Monday, Sept. 24.

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