National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is quickly approaching, and Peace River is gearing up for a day set to help remember the history of Indian Residential Schools.
“To help raise awareness and begin the steps of reconciliation, Peace River Aboriginal Interagency (PRAIC) is working hard to ensure that Indian Residential Schools (IRS), IRS survivors, and those IRS students who we have lost are not forgotten, and that opportunity to strengthen understanding and healing are provided,” says Wendy Goulet.
The Orange Shirt Day Run/Walk will be held on Sept. 30 at the Riverfront Park on 100 Avenue in Peace River. The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a pipe ceremony at St. Augustine Mission, 16 km south on Shaftsbury Trail. Women are asked to please wear a long skirt or bring a small blanket.
“The planning committee is seeking support on getting the word out about the event,” says Goulet.
“This event aims to honour and remember our ancestors and all those who attended residential schools,” she adds.
Registration and package pickup will start at noon, with opening prayer and keynote speakers being held at 12:45 p.m. There will also be an eagle feather presentation to survivors of Indian Residential Schools hosted by Sagitawa Friendship Centre.
The 10 km portion of the day will begin at 1:30 p.m., with 5-km participants following at 1:45 p.m. A mini-round dance will occur from 1:30-2:45 p.m., followed by music from Kikbak at 3 p.m. beading, Metis inspired dot art, bannock on a stick, dreamcatchers, children’s activities and a story walk will all begin at 1:30 p.m. A free stew and bannock supper will be provided at 4 p.m.
“Locally, the Indigenous population would have attended Christ Church Anglican Mission (1886-1914) or St. Augustine Roman Catholic Mission on the Shaftsbury Trail,” says Goulet. “From 1900 to 1907, St. Augustine Mission received federal funding as an Indian Residential School. After 1907, the funding was removed and Status First Nation children were sent to other Indian Residential Schools in the northern area.”
Goulet explains St. Augustine Mission continued as a Catholic run boarding and day school attended by non-status Indigenous children, Metis, and Euro-Canadian children from 1907-51.
The PRAIC planning committee is seeking donations for financial support, door prizes and in-kind donations. To donate to the event or for more information on the run or guidance on registration, please phone Wendy at (780) 219-5789. Computer savvy runners can register by visiting https://raceroster.com/events/2023/79888/orange-shirt-day-runwalk-peace-river.