Free Vancouver Art Gallery Indigenous performance honours Orange Shirt Day

Sep 21 2021, 4:01 pm

If you’re looking for a way to reflect and pay your respects on Orange Shirt Day this year, the Vancouver Art Gallery has a fantastic free performance coming up.

Canada will have its first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, also known as Orange Shirt Day, on September 30.

Titled Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýeḿ – translated to call to witness/listen to respected one – is a performance co-created by Tsatsu Stalqayu, Mortal Coil and Butterflies in Spirit and presented by the VAG.

The event starts at noon and you can watch it at the šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, formerly known as the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza.

The performance will be blending contemporary music and performance with traditional Coast Salish song and regalia.

Asking viewers to “bear witness to the ongoing tragedy of the lost children of Canada’s residential schools and the country’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,” according to a release, this will be an engaging way to participate in the conversation on Truth and Reconciliation Day.

“Bearing witness, the act of honouring and remembrance in a public forum is an important and crucial component of Coast Salish culture,” said the Vancouver Art Gallery.

“The pain and grief of these unimaginable losses are an integral part of the presentation, yet Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýeḿ ultimately also offers a message of hope that allows the audience to bear witness to the strength and resilience of the Indigenous peoples of this land,” said the Vancouver Art Gallery.

According to the Government of Canada, the day is meant for folks to “recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.” Some may choose to spend the day reflecting or joining in local community events like the performance at the Vancouver Art Gallery this Wednesday, September 30.

You can learn more about the Orange Shirt Society or about Canada’s new federal statutory holiday online.

Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson

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