People of all ages gathered in downtown Kelowna on Saturday afternoon to reflect on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Held every Sept. 30, the day honours residential school survivors and raises awareness of Indigenous issues.
At the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre, executive director Edna Terbasket was pleased to see a large and multi-generational gathering.
“If we’re going to create change, if we’re going to make a difference, everyone needs to be involved,” said Terbasket. “Everyone has to come to the table and we need to work together, communicate really well and support, honour and respect one another.”
According to the federal government, there were 140 federally run residential schools across the nation at various time periods between 1867 to 1996.
Along with reflection, the Friendship Centre also offered food and activities for children.
“Anytime that we have an opportunity to open our doors and welcome the community, and create awareness, we will do it,” said Terbasket.
In Penticton, around 300 people gathered to participate in a two-kilometre walk to honour survivors and their families.
“This monument that we are standing at is in recognition and memory of my family members some of them that attended residential school that are no longer here. I’ve lost three sisters that were part of it and we have a lot of community members that have now come and gone, and so it has impacted my family and the community as a whole,” said Greg Gabriel, Chief of the Penticton Indian Band.
“And that is why the significance of this day today is very real. We need to embrace the ones that are still with us and show them that we love them and never forget the ones that are no longer here.”
— With files from Athena Bonneau