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Fort Macleod marks Orange Shirt Day with Reconcilation Walk

Fort Macleod marks Orange Shirt Day on Wednesday, Sept. 30 with a Reconciliation Walk.

Sandra LaMouche and the Fort Macleod Inclusion and Diversity Committee have organized speakers on a variety of topics related to the recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report.

The Reconciliation Walk begins at 6 p.m. at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre where people will be provided a map listing speakers and locations.

“The hope is that community members will come and listen to those with lived experience and learn about the truth and reconciliation calls to action and what we can all do to understand each other and build a kinder and more inclusive community,” the committee’s Kristi Edwards said.

The Reconciliation Walk is open to anyone. Each presenter will speak for 10 to 15 minutes so even elementary aged children could engage and participate.

LaMouche, who is First Nations, Metis and Inuit success co-ordinator for Livingstone Range School Division, proposed the Reconciliation Walk to mark Orange Shirt Day.

Orange Shirt Day is part of an ongoing conversation about residential schools, their impact on Indigenous people and the legacy they have left behind.

Sept. 30 was chosen for Orange Shirt Day because it is the time of year in which Indigenous children were taken from their homes to residential schools.

The Truth and Reconcilation Commission of Canada was active from 2008-’15 to document the history and lasting impacts of Canada’s Indian residential school system.

The commission concluded the removal of children from the influence of their own culture with the intent of assimilating them into the dominant Canadian culture amounted to cultural genocide.

Edwards said the Reconciliation Walk is meant to be a come-and-go event.

People can choose to listen to every speaker or pick topics of greatest interest to them.

“They don’t have to start at the arena,” Edwards explained. “There will be orange location markers set up near the arena and around Main Street to help people find the different speakers.”

The Reconciliation Walk will start at 6 p.m. at the sports centre with a Blackfoot blessing by elder Peter Strikes With A Gun.

The following is the preliminary list of speakers:

  • • Sandra LaMouche will be at the historic Fort Macleod mural in the arena parking lot talking about Canadian history and commemoration.
  • Wendy English will be at the Fort Macleod provincial court talking about murdered and missing Indigenous women.  
  • Ken Williams will be speaking about indigenous athletes. 
  • Trevor Kiitoki will speak about journalism, Indigenous art and names in the empty lot next to The Macleod Gazette. 
  • Rose Bishop, a Metis elder, will speak about the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s calls to action. 
  • Beatrice Little Mustache will talk about Jordan’s Principle.
  • Fort Museum manager Sandi Davis will give a presentation at the museum.

Edwards is hopeful there will be a large turn-out, recognizing that people may not have time to get to every speaker.

“We recognize that there are limitations with needing time to move between locations,” Edwards said. “If a person doesn’t get to them all they will still receive some information that touches on each of the calls to action that Sandra chose to highlight.”