Gichi-apiitendaagoziwag akina abinoonjiiyag – Every Child Matters

Thursday, September 30 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It’s intended as a day of reflection on our past, healing for the future and honouring those who didn’t make it home from residential school. The day is being marked with a wide variety of events across the region, both in person and online. Take the opportunity to listen, learn, reflect and heal.

A memorial Walk will take place in partnership with Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre, Metis Nation of Ontario and the United Native Friendship Centre. The walk will begin at the New Beginnings Church at 10 a.m. and will end at the Nanicost grounds. Bagged lunch will be provided. Activities, prizes and draws for participants. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services is hosting a drive-through event at their location at 601 Kings Highway beginning at 10 a.m., to commemorate the Residential School experience. The event will host a drum circle and dancers. Drive through the circular drive to take part in various drive-thru stations, with giveaways for the first 250 participants, including a Day of orange tote bag including orange T-shirts, grab n’ go lunch, vinyl decal, art projects and a Revitalizing Anishinaabemowin Pamphlet.

Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services is hosting a colouring contest. To enter, find the image at Tribal Health’s Facebook page, and send a photo of your completed work to Mackenzie Archie, Cultural Coordinator at marchie@fftahs.org. Keep your original and display it proudly.

Weechi-it-te-win Family Services will be having a gathering on the Day of Truth and Reconciliation, to acknowledge and honour survivors and those that never returned home. The public is invited to share the Day of Truth and Reconciliation. – Thursday, September 30th at our Family Healing Program, located at 71 McTavish Road, Lavallee Township. The day will begin with sounding the drum at 11 a.m., along with Elders, and a meet and greet. Guest speaker Jana Rae Yerxa will be speaking on the topic of Truth and Reconciliation at 12:30. We will be serving lunch at noon. Every person that attends will receive and educational pamphlet and an orange t-shirt. We also have a small token of appreciation for every child in attendance.

In recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Binesiwag Center for Wellness (BCW) invites community members, to join in the unveiling of an art piece on September 30, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. 204 Mainville Road in Couchiching First Nation. The display will be open to the community anytime for viewing, healing, storytelling, and prayers.

The unveiling is an exhibit of a 14’ Dreamcatcher, strung in orange lights holding tightly an Every Child Matters sign in its middle. The edges are dressed in over 6100+ orange beads – a memorial representation of our children who never came home. The beads themselves were strung by survivors, family members, youth, children, adults, and Elders/Seniors. It was important to BCW to create something that could be displayed and evolve beyond September 30, 2021, to continue to raise awareness, create safe spaces for storytelling and honour both survivors, their families and those lost from Indian Residential Schools. Vice-Chief Executive Officer Mandi Olson, spoke the piece. “This isn’t just artwork, it is teachings, healing, and a place to share our stories. It’s a powerful piece. Those that recognize the dreamcatcher, feel protected and safe. The beads represent healing. When we bead we reconnect with our identity through connecting our stories, spirit and purpose.”

The Dreamcatcher is as a project of love, of grief, of healing, and of truly recognizing that Every Child Matters. BCW commits to adding onto the Dreamcatcher in the future. Every child found after today will continue to be represented by an orange bead, again strung by those who are seeking their own healing.

BCW would like to extend an invitation to everyone to come and join us during the unveiling of the Dreamcatcher. Guests are welcome to join us for coffee and refreshments and bring their asemma (Tobacco offerings) to the Dreamcatcher which will be on display permanently after the unveiling.

Anamiewigummig, The Kenora Fellowship Centre, is hosting a week-long CommUNITY Week of Healing and Reconciliation. All community members are invited to take part, visit the sacred fire and join the conversation. Today at 4 p.m. is an acoustic Music Jam Session, and a Men’s healing Circle from 3-5 p.m. From 6-8 p.m. will be an Every Child Matters ONWA zoom event. This online evening event will focus on healing, truth, kindness, and grief and loss. Guest speakers include: Audrey Deroy – Healing, Al Hunter – Truth, Joe Hunter – Kindness, and Tina Armstrong – Grief and Loss. Register at https://bit.ly/3ktHZdT. On Friday, a closing Ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m., with a gathering of drums, giveaway, then a potluck feast at noon, followed by a Healing Circle at 1 p.m.

The Lake of the Woods Museum will host “Bakaan nake’ii ngii-izhi-gakinoo’amaagoomin: We were taught differently: the Indian residential school experience.” The exhibit is open to admission by donation for the day, from 2:30-8 p.m. LOW Museum is located at 300 Main Street South in Kenora.

The Douglas Family Art Centre is hosting Ruth Cuthand’s Beads of Truth exhibit. Admission is by donation for Thursday, from 2:30 -8 p.m., located at 224 Main Street South in kenora.

A full day of events will take place in Kenora on Thursday, September 30. A walk from the CJ Property to the Cemetery and back will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. A Grab and Go Lunch will run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Harbourfront Pavilion. A PowWow and Gathering will take place from from 1 to 10 p.m. at the Harbourfront Pavilion. Grand Entry is scheduled for 1 and 7 p.m. A giveaway will take place at 3p.m., a fishfry dinner at 5 p.m. and entertainment from Billy Joe Green starting at 6 p.m. From 6-8 p.m. will be an Every Child Matters ONWA zoom event. Register at https://bit.ly/3ktHZdT. On Friday, a closing Ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m., with a gathering of drums, giveaway and feast. Meals provided daily at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. Anamiewigummig is located at 208 Water Street in Kenora. For more information, contact kenoramovingforward@gmail.com, call Elauna at 807-407-9131, or visit CommUNITY Week of Healing and Reconciliation on Facebook.