How Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is recognizing National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Canada will soon be recognizing the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, more commonly known as Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30.

The day marks the tragic legacy left behind by the Canadian Indian residential school system, the missing children, broken families, and survivors of those institutions.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) began its journey to the day on Aug. 15 with the Truth and Reconciliation Challenge.

Over seven weeks, a different topic or theme is explored to lead residents down their own path of reconciliation.

Lauren Golosky, Advisor, Indigenous and Rural Relations with the RMWB told Mix News during an interview that last year it was named, The Reconciliation Challenge.

“We renamed it to the Truth and Reconciliation Challenge. Because you can’t have reconciliation without first acknowledging the real truth of Canada and our region,” explained Golosky.

She noted that while the challenge concludes on Sept. 30, the resources from the challenge will continue to be available for anyone that wants to learn more.

“Reconciliation isn’t going to end on that day, it really is important that we continue moving forward with this,” said Golosky.

Janine Kruse, Manager, Indigenous and Rural Relations with the RMWB commented that for Sept. 30, the municipality has been working to create a day that gets people out.

“We’re going to start with a gathering on the stairs of Jubilee (Jubilee Plaza). There will be a blessing to set intentions for the day along with drumming. Then we’ll be walking to MacDonald Island Park where we’ll informally gather to have more conversations and then break apart into different communities,” said Kruse.

She mentioned that they had been working with different communities in Wood Buffalo to plan different private luncheons that will honour the survivors and their families.

“So many survivors are so generous with their stories and taking the time to educate people, but it’s a lot and takes a toll on them,” said Kruse. “So, we’re making sure they’re honoured that day, we’re not putting them on a stage and making them tell stories and reliving their trauma, it’s about making them feel cared for and uplifted.”

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be taking place on Sept. 30.

If you want to take part in Fort McMurray, the gathering will begin outside Jubilee Plaza on Franklin Avenue at 9:30 a.m.

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