This Saturday (September 30) marks the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day dedicated to recognizing the legacy of Canada’s residential school system and its devastating impact on generations of Indigenous peoples. Reflections, traditional ceremonies, flag raising, educational activities, and family events are taking place in communities across the greater Kawarthas region.
Established in 2021 in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s “94 Calls to Action” to further reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, the day is an opportunity to reflect, educate, and honour the survivors of residential schools and those who did not return.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation intentionally coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which takes place every September 30 to recognize and raise awareness about the history and impact of Canada’s residential school system. The date of September 30 was chosen because it is the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their homes and forced to attend Canada’s residential schools, where they were separated from the families and communities and stripped of their language, culture, and heritage.
To commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, head over to Fresh Prints at 219 ½ Hunter Street in Peterborough to purchase an orange T-shirt from Nish Tees, an Anishinaabe-owned local business. Proceeds from this year’s orange shirt sales will go to NATWIN, a Curve Lake-based initiative that provides essentials to northern communities.
Listed below are highlights of just some of this year’s events leading up to, on, and following National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day in the greater Kawarthas region.
Flag Raising in Kawartha Lakes – September 26
VIDEO: 2022 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Flag Raising
In advance of the regular council Meeting on Tuesday (September 26), the City of Kawartha Lakes will be hosting a flag raising at 12 p.m. on the eastern lawn outside of City Hall In Lindsay.
All members of the public are invited and encouraged to wear orange and take a moment to reflect as the flag is raised.
Trent University – September 25 to October 2
This year, Trent University’s Head of the Trent annual rowing regatta overlaps with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Varsity athletes will be wearing orange jerseys during the warm-ups and a moment of silence will be held prior to the start of the first game. Orange lapel pins will be available for attendees at the Peterborough Rowing Club, the Alumni Welcome Tent, and at the Justin Chiu Stadium.
Leading up to the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Bata Library and Archives has curated “It Begins with Children,” an educational display of Indigenous items centred on the lives of children that will be on display at the Bata Library Display Case until October 6. Additionally, a market of Indigenous artists, crafters, and vendors will be hosted at the Bata Podium on September 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On September 28, the Peterborough campus will host a film screening of The Honour of Senator Murray Sinclair followed by a conversation with Michi Saagiig survivors of residential schools. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the event can be attended virtually through Zoom registration, or in person in Stohn Hall at the Trent Student Centre.
The Peterborough campus will host its ceremony on Monday, October 2nd beginning with a sunrise ceremony at 6:30 a.m. at the Mindoowag Akiin Traditional Area, and followed by a heart garden reflection from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Traill College’s Kerr House, a walk-and-chalk community conversation from 10 a.m. to noon at Lady Eaton Bridge at Lady Eaton College, a Three Sisters community lunch at noon at the Gzowski College Quad while supplies last, and a community sacred fire at the Champlain College fire pit from noon to 4 p.m., including a campus reflection and moment of silence at 2 p.m.
Trent University will also be hosting events at its Durham campus in the week leading up to National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, including the “Every Child Matters” educational exhibit at the Durham Library Display Case, a screening of The Honour of Senator Murray Sinclair on September 28, and a sacred fire, community reflection, and medicine garden rock painting on September 29. For details, visit www.trentu.ca/truthandreconciliationday.
Fleming College – September 25 to 29
All three of Fleming College’s campuses in Peterborough, Lindsay, and Haliburton will be recognizing National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with an entire week of learning and awareness beginning on September 25.
In addition to scheduled events listed below, a children’s shoe collection will be on display at all three campuses to recognize, remember, and honour Indigenous children lost to Canada’s residential school system. Local Indigenous business Nish Tees will be selling orange T-shirts throughout the week at scheduled times, including from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday at the Sutherland campus in Peterborough, with all proceeds donated to the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
At the Sutherland campus, events begin on Monday (September 25) with a welcome and drum opening from 10 to 11 a.m. at the main foyer, followed by orange shirt beading from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Tuesday, there will be a reading of “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt” from 10 to 11 a.m. in the main foyer, followed by a screening of The Secret Path at 1 p.m. at Whetung Theatre.
On Wednesday, orange rock painting will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Steele Centre patio. On Thursday, there will be a second reading of “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt” from 1 to 2 p.m. in the main foyer. The week’s events conclude on Friday with rock painting and orange shirt beading from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the main foyer.
At the Haliburton campus, orange T-shirt sales and rock painting will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday (September 27) in the Great Hall.
On Thursday and Friday, Lindsay’s Frost Campus will host a reading of “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt” at 12 p.m. followed by rock painting from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Both events take place in the ISS Lounge 180A.
Flag Raising in Peterborough – September 29
Peterborough County Warden Bonnie Clark, in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, will raise the Every Child Matters flag at the Peterborough County courthouse (470 Water Street, Peterborough) at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 29. Invited guests include Curve Lake First Nation Chief Keith Knott.
Sacred Fire and Film Screening in Cobourg – September 29
On Friday (September 29) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., EarlyOn Cobourg (800 Division Street) will host a sacred fire with Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre featuring tobacco offerings, kid and adult activities, and community booths with information about Orange Shirt Day.
At Division and Third/George Street in Cobourg, there will also be a special screening of “Bones of Crows” at 8 p.m. Friday in collaboration with the Downtown Business Improvement Area. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own chairs.
Truth and Reconciliation Ceremony in Colborne – September 29
There will be a special commemorative ceremony at 11 a.m. on Friday (September 29) in Victoria Square Park in Colborne featuring knowledge sharing and reflection, moments of silence, and a flag raising and smudge ceremony. Orange shirts will be available for purchase towards the Dibaajimowan Cultural Centre.
Orange Shirt Day at Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre in Peterborough – September 29
The Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre is hosting its Orange Shirt Day event tomorrow on Friday (September 29) from 2 to 6 p.m. at its location at 580 Cameron Street in Peterborough.
Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre will also be at EarlyOn Cobourg (800 Division Street) earlier in the day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to host a sacred fire with tobacco offerings, kid and adult activities, and community booths with information about Orange Shirt Day.
Hiawatha First Nation – September 30
In honour of Orange Shirt Day and in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Hiawatha First Nation is inviting everyone to an “afternoon of awareness” at Confederation Square in downtown Peterborough from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday (September 30).
The afternoon of reflection and education will include invited speakers, the Kairos Blanket Exercise, and big drum singers. A traditional feast will follow at The Gathering Space at 431 Hiawatha Line at Hiawatha First Nation.
Participants are reminded to bring a chair for the afternoon, wear an orange shirt, and bring an “Every Child Matters” flag. Registration is required for the feast.
Curve Lake First Nation – September 30
Curve Lake First Nation is honouring Orange Shirt Day on Saturday (September 30) beginning with a 6 a.m. sunrise ceremony at Lime Kiln Park.
Gather at 10:30 a.m. in the field behind the community centre (closest to the health centre) for opening remarks from guest speakers Chief Keith Knott and Councillor Arnold Taylor with a prayer by Councillor Debbie Jacobs.
A walk will begin at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at the community centre. Participants are asked to wear their orange shirt. Remembrance pins will be given to those who participate in the walk.
Alderville First Nation – September 30
On Saturday (September 30) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Alderville Health and Social Services in Roseneath, join Alderville First Nation with a day of activities for the whole family, including giveaways, bouncy castles, jingle dress dancers, drumming, and singing.
There will be a shuttle to the event from Cobourg, picking up at Victoria Hall (55 King St. W.) at 9:30 a.m. and returning at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.
Free Aabnaabin exhibit at Lang Pioneer Village Museum in Keene – September 30
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday (September 30), Lang Pioneer Village Museum (104 Lang Road) in Keene is offering free admission to its “Aabnaabin: Looking Back to Where We Come From” permanent exhibit, which explores the impacts local pioneer settlements had on Michi Saagiig Anishnaabeg.
Visitors can visit the wigwam at Aabnaabin Camp or chat with the curator to learn about how the museum’s partnerships, including with Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation, came together to start telling the story of how settlement affected Indigenous people and how the museum has shifted directions with its programming to include more of the story, including the parts present-day settlers may find challenging.
Admission is free in honour of National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Commemoration in Bobcaygeon – September 30
Visit the Boyd Museum grounds (21 Canal Street East) in Bobcaygeon at 3 p.m. on Saturday (September 30) for a commemoration hosted by the Truth and Reconciliation Community Bobcaygeon and the Mishkodeh Centre for Indigenous Knowledge.
Curve Lake First Nation drummer and Elder Dorothy Taylor will be joined by knowledge holders Anne Taylor and Brittany Taylor for an afternoon of honouring and remembrance.
Visit trcbobcaygeon.org for updates.
Virtual tour and talk at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre – September 30
For National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Municipality of Port Hope is taking participants on a virtual tour of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday (September 30) at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope.
Presented in partnership with Northumberland County, “Inspiring Change” is a free, guided live-streamed virtual tour of the museum, with a focus on the Truth and Reconciliation exhibit. Following the virtual tour, Port Hope Mayor Olena Hankivsky will host a conversation with special guests Jeannette Corbiere Lavell and her daughter Dr. Dawn Lavell Harvard.
An Indigenous women’s rights advocate, Corbiere Lavell was born into the Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island but was stripped of her status under the Indian Act when she married a non-Indigenous man. At “Inspiring Change,” she will recount her actions in challenging the Indian Act in recognition that the same rules did not apply to Indigenous men.
Corbiere Lavell’s daughter Dr. Dawn Lavell Harvard is a proud member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, the first Aboriginal Trudeau Scholar, and has worked to advance the rights of Aboriginal women as the president of the Ontario Native Women’s Association since 2003. She is also director at the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University.
Tickets are free and can be reserved at capitoltheatre.com. To help local Indigenous students achieve their dreams of post-secondary education, donations to Trent University’s First Peoples House of Learning are encouraged.
Benefit Concert at Crook and Coffer in Peterborough – September 30
A benefit concert for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be held from 5 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday (September 30) at the Crook & Coffer at 231 Hunter Street West in downtown Peterborough. Performers include Andy McDonald, Samara Johnson, Andrew Arnold, and Jacques Graveline, along with Craig McEachern, who will be performing the music of John Prine.
Admission is by donation, with proceeds supporting the local Downie Wenjack Fund and local Treaty 20 non-profit organizations.
Indigenous performers at Lindsay’s Flato Academy Theatre – October 4
VIDEO: Walking Through The Fire – Sultans of String
Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s “94 Calls to Action” including Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices working together, Juno-nominated instrumental band Sultans of String has collaborated with award-winning First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists from across the country for their latest CD Walking Through The Fire.
As part of a 25-performance tour across Ontario around National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the Walking Through The Fire tour will be making a stop at Lindsay’s Flato Academy Theatre on Wednesday, October 4th.
Walking Through Fire features a diverse range of musical offerings from artists across the country, including performances from Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk of the Métis Fiddler Quartet, Ojibwe/Finnish singer-songwriter Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan), Coast Tsm’syen Elder and singer-songwriter Shannon Thunderbird, Mi’kmaw fingerstyle guitarist Don Ross, Dene singer-songwriter Leela Gilday, and Saskatchewan’s The North Sound, along with virtual guests Duke Redbird, Northern Cree, Kendra Tagoona, Tracy Sarazin, and more.
Tickets are available at www.flatoacademytheatre.com.
“To Honour and Respect” exhibition at Peterborough Museum & Archives – Until November 19
Thirteen quilled wiigwaasii makakoons (pronounced weeg-wah-see mah-ka-coons) are visiting their ancestral lands on Michi Saagiig territory until November 19 at the Peterborough Museum and Archives (300 Hunter Street East).
Michi Saagiig women gave the 13 birch bark baskets (makakoons) to the Prince of Wales on September 7, 1860, when he stopped at Rice Lake village (now Hiawatha First Nation) as part of a cross-Canada Royal tour.
Entitled “To Honour and Respect: Gifts from the Michi Saagiig Women to the Prince of Wales, 1860,” the exhibition explores the cultural knowledge, love, respect, and diplomacy that went into the makakoons. The Peterborough Museum & Archives is providing a safe and accessible home for the ancestral makakoons while in Canada.
The Peterborough Museum and Archives is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and most holidays. Admission is by donatin.