There's an Orange Shirt Day Walk happening in downtown Calgary this weekend

Sep 21 2021, 8:07 pm

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Calgary’s third annual Orange Shirt Day Walk will take place on September 25 to honour and remember the victims of Canada’s residential school system.

Local social enterprise, Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society (CIF Reconciliation Society), has announced the return of its event, Pokaiks — The Children: Orange Shirt Day Walk. The day aims to bring Calgary’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together to pay tribute to the children of the past, present, and future through the walk, along with music, art, and special speakers.

Orange shirt day

Courtesy of Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society (Albert Woo)

The event is particularly notable this year, as 2021 marks the first time that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be recognized as a federal statutory holiday. The statutory holiday falls on September 30, along with Orange Shirt Day, which takes place annually on that date.

“The Orange Shirt Day Walk is an opportunity for all members of our community to deepen their understanding of Indigenous experiences and discover new ways to actively participate in reconciliation at both a local and national level,” said Diana Frost, founder of CIF Reconciliation Society and organizer of the Walk, in a media release.

“We hope that Calgarians will be inspired to take action to support Indigenous communities as we both acknowledge the past and work together towards building a better future where the traditions and culture of Canada’s Indigenous peoples are shared and celebrated,” she added.

The event begins with the walk at 10 am, starting at 3rd Street and 8th Avenue SW and continuing east down Stephen Avenue. The walk ends in the Olympic Plaza, where folks can take part in an afternoon of community programming.

The afternoon consists of performances, traditional dancing, remarks from members of the Indigenous community, and a headline performance from Juno award winner Caleigh Cardinal.

CIF Reconciliation Society noted that the day will pay tribute to all Indigenous peoples as they reclaim and restore their identity, equality, and dignity.

“Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike are invited to come together to build awareness, dispel stereotypes, create relationships, and generate appreciation and support for Indigenous peoples,” reads the release.

All Calgarians are welcome to join in this day of community building and participate in open dialogue about Indigenous culture and the ongoing process of reconciliation in a safe and constructive environment.

The programming at Olympic Plaza is as follows:

Speakers, Presenters, and Performers (beginning at 11 am)

  • Speakers:
    • Autumn Eagle Speaker and Dwight Farahat, Emcees
    • Elder Dr. Clarence Wolfleg
    • Garret Smith, Speaker
    • Seth and Zach Helfenbaum, Youth Speakers
    • Elder Bruce Starlight
  • Performers:
    • Celeigh Cardinal, Juno Award Winner 2020
    • Nicole Acuna, Metis Jiggers
    • Hail Storm (Graham Rowan)
    • Library Charlie (Puppet) and Henri
    • Women of Songs, Singing Group
    • Argintina Hailey-Lawrence, Drag Queen
    • Jax Running Rabbit, Youth Musician
    • Sophia Eaglehead Baptiste
    • DerRic Starlight, Indigenous Puppets

Closing Ceremony (3 pm)

  • Gratitude and next steps forward
  • Closing prayers
orange shirt day

Courtesy of Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society (Albert Woo)

Pokaiks — The Children: Orange Shirt Day Walk

When: September 25
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Walk begins at 3rd Street and 8th Avenue SW, followed by community programming at Olympic Plaza
Cost: Free

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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