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Calgarians take in National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

To honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, a large gathering of people showed up to Fort Calgary Saturday morning for a ceremony marking the occasion.

One of those in attendance was Carrie-Lee Ash who hopes to take what she learned, and teach it to her students.

“I think it’s a great learning experience for myself," said Ash. "I gained no knowledge when I was in school myself as a mature student. I can share it with my new students.”

Joining her at the events, was her niece, whose grandmother is a residential school survivor. Her nephew, who is also Indigenous, wasn't with her Saturday.

“I can gain knowledge for them (both),” said Ash.

Saturday's ceremony started with a blessing from an Indigenous Elder and included performances from Indigenous dancers.

Johnny Powderface, whose parents and grandparents attended residential school, reflected on the moment.

“Today means a lot, because I think it’s a step in the right direction to what the message is being sent with truth and reconciliation,” he said.

“The real work begins when the people who are trying to start the movement with truth and reconciliation actually work with the communities, go to the communities, get to know the communities.”

Powderface is originally from Mînî Thnî (Morley). He wondered what his dad would think of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“That’s just my biggest question,” said Powderface. “When he would tell me these stories, it would actually make me shed a tear when he would go into details about what took place at those schools.”


At 11 a.m., a crowd gathered at City Hall for Pokaiks 'The Children' Commemorative Walk & Gathering, walking to Shaw Millennium Park.

Tiffany Pompana honoured her father, a residential school survivor, by joining the walk.

“Growing up, he didn’t share a lot about his experience at residential school because it was so horrific,” said Pompana. “It is important that I come out and share my story, my experience, because it impacted me and it impacts my children.”

A permanent Indian Residential School Memorial is being installed at Fort Calgary, the city announced Saturday


The City of Calgary and Fort Calgary Preservation Society announced the site for a permanent Indian Residential School Memorial at Fort Calgary.

The memorial will be located close to where the Elbow River and Bow River join.

“We had to do this properly, we had to this meaningfully,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

Residential school survivor Marina Crane, whose parents and grandparents also attended residential school, wants the memorial to serve as reminder for what so many Indigenous people endured.

“It’s a very deep impactful story that most Indigenous people can’t even utter or voice because they were taught to keep quiet,” she said.

According to Gondek, construction for the memorial is set to begin in 2024. Top Stories

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