by Lucie Roy
The town of Morinville and Sturgeon County held a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation event in partnership with the Creating Hope Society of Alberta on Wednesday night at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre.
The event started with an opening prayer and smudging with Elder Ernest Arcand and Desmond Morning Child performing the Honour Song.
Town of Morinville Councillor Scott Richardson provided greetings from the Town and the Land Acknowledgement.
Tanya Hogan, Cultural Support Worker with Creative Hope Society and Peggy Zallas, Morinville Youth Programmer, assisted with the handing out of orange t-shirts.
These were provided free of charge to attendees, who also had an opportunity to decorate them.
Emcee Ruth Kieser (Sturgeon County) spoke of the importance of smudging. Smudging the body is a way to thank for the gift of movement, smudging the eyes is to remind us to say good things,smudging of the eyes so we can see the good in all living things, smudging the hands to greet people in a kind and loving manner and smudging our mind to clear negative thoughts and to keep an open mind.
Guest speaker Bernadette Iahtail, Executive Director of Creating Hope Society of Alberta, spoke of her experiences growing up, residential school, orphanage, land acknowledgment, today’s history and 94 calls to action.
She spoke of the medicine clause in the Treaty, pine gum, aspirin, Orange Shirt Day and Reconciliation, Walking the Red Road, Walking the Non-Indigenous Road and hope for the future.
Her story is at the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg.
The special reading of “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt,” a true story about Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s experience in the residential school and a short video of Phyllis was followed by refreshments.
A special candlelight memorial walk led by Tanya Hogan was held to honour survivors, those who never made it home, their families, communities and others affected by the residential school system.
Bernadette Iahtail, Executive Director Creating Hope Society of Alberta.