City of Windsor to Mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30 has been designated National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #80. The Calls to Action offer important direction for all levels of government, institutions and all Canadians to redress the legacy of residential schools and to advance reconciliation.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day of awareness; a day of remembrance for Indigenous people and a day of education for Canadians. It honours Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensures that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Friday, September 30, coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which is the vision of Alkali Lake Chief Fred Robbins, a Survivor of residential schools. It honours the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a six-year-old residential school student who, on her first day of residential school, had her bright new orange shirt – a gift from her grandmother – taken away from her. The orange shirt has become a symbol of remembrance of all Indigenous children who were removed from their families to attend residential schools where their language and culture were repressed. Many children experienced abuse. The painful legacy of residential schools has had long-lasting effects on residential school Survivors and their families.
City of Windsor Free Community Gathering
The City of Windsor, in partnership with Theresa Sims, traditional Indigenous Knowledge Keeper and Elder, and inaugural Indigenous Storyteller for the City, will present a special community gathering at the Ojibway Prairie Complex on Friday, September 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., to include:
Theresa Sims sharing culture and tradition through songs, drumming and stories
Display of the “Every Child Matters” banner/flag on the Ojibway Nature Centre
Hands-on ‘Snake Talk’ with Naturalist and Outreach Coordinator Karen Cedar
Guided Nature Walks at the Ojibway at 11:00 a.m. and Noon
Indian tacos, scone dogs, wild rice, corn on the cob, salad, 3 sisters soup, fruit bowls, and smoothies (while supplies last)
Museum Windsor – Chimczuk Museum
Museum Windsor will be open and offering free admission on September 30. The Chimczuk Museum, located at 401 Riverside Drive West, includes the Original Peoples Culture and Legacy Gallery. At the north end of the main floor concourse, this space reflects the culture, heritage and contemporary issues of the local First Nations and Métis communities. It also provides an open and flexible gathering space for programming. This exhibit was developed in consultation with Walpole Island Heritage Centre, Caldwell First Nation, Turtle Island-Aboriginal Education Centre at the University of Windsor, Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre and other local community organizations. Features of the exhibition include Creation Stories, Treaties, Residential Schools and 60s Scoop, Language Revitalization, Missing and Murdered Women, Medicine Wheel Teachings, and Cultural Expressions.
Windsor Public Library
All branches of the Windsor Public Library will be closed on September 30, however displays of Indigenous content and resources will be featured at all branches and online at the Digital Branch throughout the week. Staff have prepared a video on Truth and Reconciliation and offer the following opportunities for community engagement:
As of September 12, customers are now able to pick up a heart kit at Riverside Branch to take home and bring back, or create a heart in branch to plant outside in the Heart Garden.
Starting September 26, stop by Fontainebleau for a Dreamcatcher Take and Make Kit.
On September 27 at 4:00 p.m., visit Budimir Branch for the first monthly Snack and a Story where they pair a book and a special recipe; in honour of Truth and Reconciliation this month, they will be reading Fry Bread by Kevin Noble and making the recipe from the book. Registration is required and opens on September 21. Later that evening, starting at 6:00 p.m., join Ms. Kate at Riverside Branch for a special Indigenous voices story time session.
On September 29, pick up a Spirit Bear Activity Pack from the Chisholm Branch, then head over to Bridgeview Branch at 4:30 p.m. for Art Club to make musical instruments, or anytime for a Drum Take and Make Kit.
For more information about these Windsor Public Library programs, and to find any last-minute additions or alterations, please view their calendar of events.
Downloadable Ojibway Nature Centre Colouring Book
The Healthy Headwaters Lab (HHL) at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor presents the Ojibway Nature Centre Colouring Book illustrated by Maria Alexander (Baashkooniingad Kwe, which means “buds on the tree beginning to open woman”) an Indigenous artist from Bkejwanong. This project was a partnership between the Ojibway Nature Centre and HHL’s Ode’imin circle; to re-introduce Indigenous knowledge and art to the Ojibway Nature Centre. Through this colouring book, Mariah’s art, and the inclusion of Anishinaabe words, HHL hopes this colouring book will help fill the gap in Indigenous knowledge, and introduce a new generation to the rich Indigenous culture found in Windsor.
At the Corporation of the City of Windsor
The City has encouraged all municipal staff to use the week of September 26 to focus on the importance of reconciliation and take steps to learn about and acknowledge the past through various opportunities for participation, including:
Raising the “Every Child Matters” flag at Charles Clark Square on September 27 at noon, with the mayor, members of City Council, and staff of the City Hall campus invited to attend.
Windsor City Hall is being illuminated orange from September 29 to October 2.
Flags at City facilities will be lowered to half-mast September 29 to October 2.
City staff will be encouraged to wear orange on September 29 to acknowledge the tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the victims, families, friends, and intergenerational Survivors.
City departments will take time on September 29 to discuss how City services, programs and infrastructure could help address Truth and Reconciliation.
Five-day film festival and other learning opportunities online through the week;
Transit Windsor will tie orange ribbons to bus mirrors and program head signs on buses with #everychildmatters Friday. Additionally, staff will wear orange ribbons, with on-board announcements recognizing the day and the significance of the ribbons.
For more information on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, including additional resources and opportunities for engagement, please visit the Government of Canada web page.
“National Day for Truth and Reconciliation provides an opportunity to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors and their families and communities, while ensuring that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process. The City of Windsor stands with Indigenous peoples and invites everyone to join us for a special gathering at Ojibway for an opportunity to learn together, and to share important stories.” – Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens
“We turn to nature to heal. Come to the forest and heal from the past, so that we can walk together in peace. Remember our children and learn from the past.”– Theresa Sims, Indigenous Storyteller for the City of Windsor
“The Windsor Public Library staff take great pride in the work they do in support of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This year there will be story hours online and Make and Take Kits available at all branches for families to create their own traditions and learning opportunities around this important day.”– Kitty Pope, CEO, Windsor Public Library.