Students from the Trafalgar Middle School Aboriginal Education program at Pulpit Rock on Sept. 16. Photo: Submitted

Students from the Trafalgar Middle School Aboriginal Education program at Pulpit Rock on Sept. 16. Photo: Submitted

Truth and Reconciliation Day events in Nelson Sept. 29 and 30

Wear your orange shirt for a downtown parade Sept. 29 and a gathering at Lakeside Park Sept. 30

During a massive downpour on Sept. 16, a group of Aboriginal Education students hiked to Pulpit Rock and hung an orange Every Child Matters flag to bring awareness to the ongoing legacy of residential schools and the importance of reconciliation.

Everyone showed incredible resilience as we hiked to the top, soaking wet but smiling. We had a drum circle at the top to honour the ancestors and all of the atrocities we know about the residential schools and also for all of the hope we hold for the future as we actively engage in truth and reconciliation.

“It felt really special to do this because the rain made it memorable,” said Xander Hynes, a Grade 7 Aboriginal Education student. “We were out there to put up the orange flag to raise awareness for Every Child Matters. I loved the drumming because of the fog coming up the mountain while we were drumming and everyone there just seemed to love the special feeling of it.”

Students offered the traditional medicine of tobacco to the land in gratitude for the day and in remembrance of everyone impacted by residential schools.

“The day felt really meaningful because we overcame the challenge of hiking in the rain together and remembered how much residential school students suffered,” said Grade 8 student Harley Reilly. “It felt important because of the drumming at the top and sharing the flag with the community.”

Orange Shirt Day events in Nelson

A Children’s Heartbeat Parade will be held Sept. 29 starting at the Trafalgar Middle School athletic field, gathering at 9:30 a.m. and leaving at 10:15 a.m. The parade will proceed down Ward Street, east on Victoria Street, south on Josephine Street, west on Baker Street then return to Trafalgar north on Stanley Street.

There is also a seating area available for Elders and community members in front of the Capitol Theatre. Downtown workplaces are encouraged to witness the children with a work and business pause from 10:30 and 11:00 a.m.

On Sept. 30, on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the West Kootenay Métis are hosting the Indigenous Community and all Nelson and area residents at the Lakeside Park rotary shelter from 1 to 4 p.m.

The event is intended to celebrate culture, reflect on the recognition of Indigenous peoples in Canada and in our community. It will bring together like-minded, positive people to reflect around reconciliation, the Calls To Action, and progress going forward. It will include drumming, speakers, and Indigenous vendors. Service providers are also welcome to attend, participate, and provide information to the community.