Events in honour of residential school survivors in Regina days before Orange Shirt Day

Hundreds of people walked in support for residential school survivors and the children who did not make it home at a community smudge walk at the First Nations University. Global Regina still

Many people from all walks of life attended several events in Regina days before National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to honour residential school survivors and those who did not make it home.

At the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), a smudge walk and a community lunch was held early Thursday morning.

Click to play video: 'Regina smudge walk offers support for Indigenous community to process, reconnect ahead of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation'
Regina smudge walk offers support for Indigenous community to process, reconnect ahead of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

“It is important for us to commemorate, to engage in remembrance for the children that didn’t return home from Indian residential schools, and also to acknowledge the strength and resiliency of Indian residential school survivors,” said FNUniv President Jacqueline Ottman. “This will be something that we will continue to do in years to come, because the discoveries of unmarked graves continue throughout the province (and) also throughout the country.”

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Presentations followed after the walk was completed by various dignitaries such as Star Blanket Cree Nation Chief Michael Starr, who said the smudge walk signifies healing.

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“All (of) our emotions were part of the walk … I believe in my mind, when you’re doing the walk, it helps heal our people because we’re all together (and) thinking the same thoughts,” said Chief Starr. “Today, we are relearning and reengaging with our knowledge keepers. They tell us to have hope and think about the future. Sure, the past has hurt but move forward in a good way and work together in a good way.”

In downtown Regina, the former chief of Cowessess First Nation was a guest speaker at the Regina Public Library who spoke about the importance of reconciliation and his hope for the future. His public talk drew a large crowd as he became a familiar face in Canada in the wake of the mass grave discoveries.

“We all inherited this moment. Nobody today created what we know today as residential schools, the Indian Act or the Sixties Scoop,” said Cadmus Delorme. “Every one of us inherited this moment. And when you inherent something, you have a responsibility to do something about it. Indigenous people are also rediscovering our own history today. Reconciliation is on both sides of the relationship right now.”

In the next two days, various events and activities will occur in Regina for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day.


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