Focusing on education and reconciliation

(Photo: Orange T-Shirt Day)

The city of Belleville will mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at an event later this month.

The city’s chair of Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee Councilor Sean Kelly says, “The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for us to come together and really learn from one another as we reflect on the ongoing legacy of the residential school system.”

In a statement, Kelly says this year’s focus is on education and reconciliation.

The event will include opening remarks from Chief R. Don Maracle and Mayor Mitch Panciuk, a Wampum Belt demonstration with Jamie Maracle, a presentation from Indigenous Proud artist Kory Parkin, vendors and more.

An ASL interpreter will be providing support at the event. Residents are asked to wear orange in support of Orange Shirt Day.

The flag at City Hall will also be lowered to half-staff as the community remembers and mourns all victims of the residential school system.

Councilor Sean Kelly added, “This year’s focus is on education and reconciliation. It is our hope that residents will take in our wonderful guest speakers and come away from the event with newfound knowledge as we continue down the long path to reconciliation.”

In addition to the recognition event, the Bridge Street Bridge, BELLEVILLE sign and Firefighters Garden will be lit orange to honor this important day. The flag at City Hall will also be lowered to half-staff as we remember and mourn all victims of the residential school system.

A 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been created to provide support for former residential school students. Emotional crisis referral services can be accessed by calling: 1-866-925-4419. Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week for counseling and crisis intervention. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat.

The event will be held at the square behind city hall, beginning at 11:45 am on Friday, September 30.

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