Three walks will be happening in London to honour the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this week.
Two of the three are organized by N’Amerind Friendship Centre in London; the other event is being put on by Turtle Island Healing Walk.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was legislated as a national statutory holiday this summer by the federal government. The day is to honour children lost while attending residential schools and survivors, as well as their families and communities.
The statutory holiday is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action. Although it’s not being celebrated as a stat holiday provincewide, London will be treating it as such.
Orange Shirt Day 5K Prayer Run
This five kilometre run, which can also be walked, is organized by N’Amerind Friendship Centre. Although it was open to everybody, registration has now closed. The event has been approved by the city and Middlesex-London Health Unit allowing for 100 attendees.
There are events leading up to the walk starting at 4:15 p.m. at Springbank Park in London. It is a fundraiser for the centre itself.
This walk, which is also organized by N’Amerind Friendship Centre, is approximately 32 kilometers long, starting at the former site of the Mount Elgin Residential School and ending at the centre. It begins at 7 a.m.
The public may join the “honour walkers” along the way for this daylong walk, described as “an Indigenous, women-led path to healing.”
Turtle Island Healing Walk: Connecting our Communities on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
This isn’t a walk per se, but organizer Elyssa Rose says that “you will be walking.” This event takes place in Dundas Place in downtown London from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday. According to the Facebook event page it is about “honouring and healing through connection while nurturing hope and reconciliation in our communities.”
There will be vendors, conversations, art, food, and music among many other things over the course of the three hours downtown. Adrian Chrisjohn, Chief of Oneida Nation of the Thames, will be there for the opening as well as London Mayor Ed Holder.
Participation of allies
When it comes to how Indigenous allies can participate respectfully in these, or other events, happening on Sept. 30, Joel Kennedy with N’Amerind Friendship Centre suggests reaching out to the event organizers to see if ally participation is possible and how.