Community members from Mini Thni (Morley), Cochrane and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to take part in a symbolic event reaching out to each other during the Every Child Matters Truth and Reconciliation Walk on Sept. 30.
The Truth and Reconciliation Walk is now in its third year. This year is an even more eventful time than previous years, in that, at the conclusion, participants who so choose will be able take part in Cochrane’s first ever powwow at the SLS Centre.
Organizer Eve Powder is a Rabbit Lake resident, member of the Stoney Nation, and a self-described “Sioux woman.”
She had difficulty, at first, finding the words to describe how she feels during the walks.
“Sad, and . . . it’s pretty emotional . . . but yet, it’s to honour residential school survivors, and those that didn’t make it home,” she said. “And for the children out in BC as well.”
It’s important to let survivors know there are people out there who care for them and recognize them during this hard time.
She describes the feelings that overwhelmed her when she first saw the non-Indigenous community reach out. She likens it to one of the most powerful human emotions imaginable.
“It’s an awesome feeling, like the feeling when you meet your true love for the first time, how my heart was,” she said.
“It’s very powerful – I don’t know how to explain it, when our non-Indigenous friends come out to support us, and want to learn about our traditional, cultural ways.”
Powder is also a residential school survivor, having attended the David Bearspaw Indian School, where she went when she was six years old.
The Morley Indian Residential School opened in 1926, with a new residence building constructed to accommodate up to 60 students.
The three-storey Morley residential school building was located where the Community School stands today, next to the Morley United Church.
After four decades of indoctrinating local Stoney Nakoda children into “the White Man’s way,” the Morley Indian Residential School closed in 1969.
The building has long since been torn down.
The first Every Child Matters walk was held three years ago to honour the memories of the children whose gravesites were unearthed at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and it is an annual event now, marking Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Powder’s 14-year-old granddaughter Kallie will don traditional regalia and dance the length of the walk.
Sep. 30th is also the federally recognized national Truth and Reconciliation Day of remembrance to honour the children who never returned home and also the survivors of residential schools. The day also recognizes the effects of residential schools on the families of survivors and their communities through intergenerational trauma. It is also referred to as Orange Shirt Day. Those interested in knowing more about the event can go to orangeshirtday.org..
Walkers are being asked to meet for prayers at McDougall Memorial United Church in Morley at 10 am. The walk starts at 11 am and is about 2.8 km long. A limited number of orange shirts will be available for sale.
The Odagugiciye Apîîciyabic/Building Relationships Traditional Pow Wow kicks off at 12:30 pm on the same day at the SLS Centre with the drum roll call. Dance performances start at 2 pm, and festivities continue until 8 pm. The round dance will be at 7 pm.