The Town of Huntsville, the Huntsville Public Library, and Hope Arises Project Inc. invites the community to join in Huntsville’s 3rd Annual Orange Shirt Day March and Gathering on September 30, 2023. September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as well as Orange Shirt Day in Canada. This national day commemorates the tragic history and healing journey of residential school survivors, their families, and the children who never returned home.
On September 30, the community is encouraged to wear orange to honour the survivors and the lost children of residential schools. The march will begin at 9:45 am from the High Street municipal parking lot and proceed to River Mill Park. An opening ceremony will commence at 11:00 am and include a number of special guests including:
- Jan Beaver, a storyteller, author of several children’s graphic novels and history books. Jan is a proud recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of her work in education. She is a member of the Alderville First Nation (Anishinaabe) and has dedicated most of her life to learning and teaching others about the history, traditions, and cultures of First Nation peoples.
- Drumming performance by Chippewa Travellers. The Chippewa Travellers are an Aniishinaabeg family drum group originally from Chippewas of Nawash, Cape Croker (Neyaashingaming), Ontario but now reside in the Southern/Central area of Ontario
- Joyce Jonathan Crone, President of Hope Arises Project Inc.
The event will take place rain or shine. This is a family friendly event, and all are welcome.
The week leading up to September 30 is Truth and Reconciliation Week. Set by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), this year’s theme is Honoring Survivors: Remembering the Children. Part of the NTRC’s mandate is “to preserve and make accessible the memory and legacy of the residential school system and the experiences of survivors and their families for future generations. This year’s theme aims to continue educating and commemorating the truth of our history from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge keepers and to continue the path to reconciliation.”
Locally, the Survivors’ Flag will be raised in Huntsville from September 25 to September 30 to mark Truth and Reconciliation Week. This commemorative flag was created by survivors to honour survivors, families, and communities impacted by the residential school system in Canada, and to share their expression of remembrance across the nation. Banners produced by Hope Arises, and representing the Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers teachings, will also adorn Huntsville’s downtown. Many downtown businesses have orange ribbons in their storefront window to show their respect. A local screening of the film Bones of Crows is being held on October 2, 2023, at the Algonquin Theatre. Tickets can be purchased through the theatre or Reel Alternatives Huntsville.
For more information on Truth and Reconciliation Week 2023, please visit nctr.ca.
For more information on Orange Shirt Day, please visit orangeshirtday.org.
For more on Reel Alternatives Huntsville, visit reelalternativeshuntsville.ca.
For more information about Huntsville’s Orange Shirt Day March and Gathering, please visit huntsvillelibrary.ca.