Media Release: Smiths Falls recognizes Truth & Reconciliation Week with community activities Oct. 1 and 2

Sept. 27, 2021

Smiths Falls recognizes Truth & Reconciliation Week with community activities Oct. 1 and 2

The Town of Smiths is pleased to announce a series of events and activities coordinated to recognize and honour Truth and Reconciliation Week in the community.

The National Day for Truth and Recognition is a federally recognized day held annually on Sept. 30 to provide an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools in Canada. Running between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1, Truth and Reconciliation Week is a five-day national event that will continue the conversations for Every Child Matters.

On Sept. 20, Mayor Shawn Pankow of the Town of Smiths Falls proclaimed Sept. 30 as National Truth and Reconciliation Day (Orange Shirt Day) in Smiths Falls, to share the stories of residential school survivors, their families, and their communities.

“We recognized and acknowledge the traumatic history that Indigenous people in our nation have suffered, and support them in their struggle for Truth and Reconciliation,” said Mayor Shawn Pankow. “As Canadians, we all have a moral responsibility to enhance our understanding and our commitment to reconciliations. In Smiths Falls, we look forward to continuing to work together on the Spirit of the Drum Powwow and other important events to recognize their struggles.”

On Oct. 1 and 2, 2021, the Town of Smiths Falls, in Partnership with SFDCI and our Indigenous partners from several Indigenous communities will hold educational and ceremonial ‘teaching sessions’ to celebrate Indigenous culture and knowledge and provide learning opportunities for both students and the public from the Smiths Falls area.

On Friday, Oct. 1, during the school day, SFDCI students will have the opportunity to learn from Eagle River Drum and Dancers from the Algonquin Nation of Pikwakanagan.   On Oct. 1 around sunset, there will be an Every Child Matters lighted walk which will take place from the water tower at Centennial Park to the powwow grounds at Duck Island.

Mr. Bernard Nelson, Ojibway/Cree Elder and Knowledge Keeper from the Aski Nation will lead the procession on Oct. 1. Nelson is a hand drummer, Sun Dancer, and Sacred Fire Keeper and will offer prayer and Smudge the procession when it arrives at Duck Island powwow grounds.

Members of the public are encouraged to bring a solar light or glow stick and meet at the water tower beginning at 6:15 p.m. The walk will commence at 6:30 p.m. Members of the public may leave their light at the powwow grounds as part of Reconciliation.

On Saturday, Oct. 2 a mini powwow will be held at the new Reconciliation Forest at Smiths Falls & District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI) between noon to 4 p.m. Activities will include dancing, drumming, and cultural teaching sessions.

Taking part in the event will be the Eagle River Drum Group from from Pikwakanagan, Greg Mistawasis Dreaver as MC and a dozen Indigenous dancers who will represent all age groups and styles of dancing from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, Kitigan Zibi, and Ottawa First Nations.

All citizens in Smiths Falls are invited to show their support for Reconciliation and the Indigenous community in Smiths Falls and area by attending one or both events on Oct. 1 and 2. Both the sunset walk on Friday and the teachings and demonstrations on Saturday are open to the public and all members of the community are welcome.

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For more information please contact:

Julia Crowder
Economic Development & Tourism Manager
Town of Smiths Falls
77 Beckwith St N, Box 695
Smiths Falls, ON
K7A 2B8
613-283-4124 ext. 6101
jcrowder@smithsfalls.ca