There’s no shortage of events observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation around Greater Victoria on Friday, Sept. 30.
Centennial Square will be hosting the eighth annual Xe Xe Smun’ Eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters ceremony, taking place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The ceremony will include the blessing of the land and welcome by Tsarlip First Nation Elder May Sam, a land acknowledgement by Songhees Nation member Brianna Bear and Indigenous performances by Westwind Intertribal Drum, spoken-word poet Shauntelle Dick-Charleson and singers Nicole Mandryk and Adam Gauthier, who will be accompanied by students from the Tree of Life Playschool.
It will also feature the annual raising of the Victoria Orange Shirt Day flag, followed by a minute of silence and presentations by residential school as well as intergenerational survivors.
The City of Victoria will be live streaming the ceremony on its Facebook page.
Just a short distance away at Royal Athletic Park, the South Island Powwow will be kicking off at 10 a.m. – with an opening ceremony at 11 and the grand entry at noon. An evening schedule includes another grand entry at 6 p.m. and ends with the retirement of colours around midnight.
The free event features inter-tribal dancers and singers performing together, without competition; artists with work for show and sale; and food trucks, headlined by Songhees Catering and Events.
Visit songheesnation.ca/south-island-powwow for details.
Oak Bay residents will also be able to reflect on the impact of residential schools for the second consecutive year with an observance at Sno’uyutth, the welcome pole that stands at Oak Bay High.
ReconciliACTION Oak Bay – a community network of the Community Association of Oak Bay, Oak Bay United Church, St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Oak Bay Heritage Foundation and UVic Living Lab Project, dedicated to reconciliation with First Nations – hosts the ceremony to honour residential school survivors and those who didn’t survive.
The ceremony in Oak Bay starts at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to end early enough for those who wish to attend the opening ceremonies for the regional powwow in Victoria.
In Vic West, people of all ages and abilities are invited to wear orange and join the second Reconciliation Day Ride at Songhees Park.
The ride, organized by Capital Bike and members of the Songhees First Nation, begins at 10 a.m. with a speech from speaker Diane Sam. After the speech, the ride will proceed over the Johnson Street Bridge, ending at the South Island Powwow, just in time for the grand entry. The Songhees First Nation has also organized a free bike valet at the powwow for riders.
For more information, visit capitalbike.ca/reconciliation-day-ride.
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