Author, musician and broadcaster Wab Kinew is the keynote speaker at unique gathering about the aboriginal residential school Truth and Reconciliation process taking place across Canada.
The Langley Journey to Reconciliation Committee has organized events Feb. 19, 20 and 21.
When former local school trustee Cecelia Reekie returned from Ottawa after experiencing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s impact, she wanted to do something to make the work relevant to her community.
A local committee was formed. It is a grassroots cross-section of the community that includes a retired Anglican minister, school district senior staff and more.
They have planned the weekend of activities. Friday features Kinew reading from his memoir.
Saturday features a day of conversations on the topics surrounding aboriginal residential schools, drumming, a panel discussion featuring a residential school survivor and government, school and community representatives, Kinew speaking, crafts, food, archival material from the United Church and Anglican Church, and more.
The display called 100 Year of Loss will be open to the public Saturday. The Legacy of Hope Foundation display uses archival photographs and documents, first-person testimonies, and evocative works of art to teach about the issues of residential schools and their legacy. For more information: www.legacyofhope.ca.
Sunday concludes with the An Inter-Faith Ceremony of Healing and Reconciliation at 21562 Old Yale Rd., (the former Sharon United Church) starting at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s important for Canadians to understand how we got here today,” Reekie said.
Residential schools are one component of the history of Canada and the history of aboriginal peoples. It’s interconnected with the Indian Act, treaties, and more.
But it’s had the most direct effect on families because people who were not raised by parents were not able to parent.
Reekie added that the last residential school closed in 1996 so this is not ancient history.
Reekie said people attend and participate as they choose.
She said the most important thing for organizers is people’s willingness to share and learn from different perspectives. Each person will be at a different place in terms of their understanding of the issues, their own experiences and ability to work with others on what the future holds, she said.
The weekend is meant to encourage discussion and understanding.
The federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently released 94 calls to action (recommendations). Reekie said they may seem daunting but she suggested people read through the 94 and pick one they think they could apply to their lives.
“It’s not that we expect us to define what is reconciliation at the end of the weekend,” she said.
Wab Kinew, author of The Reason You Walk
Kinew will read passages from his memoir.
Tickets: $12 available through Eventbrite.ca
Yorkson Creek Middle School, 20686 84th Ave. (Limited parking at Yorkson. Shuttle bus is available to and from R.E. Mountain Secondary, 7755 202nd St.)
A Community Day of Reconciliation
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Keynote speaker Wab Kinew at 11 a.m.
Panel discussion, drumming, arts, exhibits, food, learning
Yorkson Creek Middle School, 20686 84th Ave. (Limited parking so a shuttle bus runs to and from R.E. Mountain Secondary, 7755 202nd St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Free. Open to all ages.
Interfaith Ceremony of Healing
United Church, 21562 Old Yale Rd.
The committee is on Facebook (Working Toward Reconciliation) and Twitter (#reconciliationlangley).