Communities in Waterloo region mark 2nd National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
A sacred fire ceremony took place in New Hamburg while Kitchener held a 'Remember Me, Remember Us' walk
Communities across Waterloo region gathered Friday to mark Canada's second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day.
The day was started to honour children who died and those who survived residential schools, their families and communities.
In New Hamburg, a sunrise ceremony was held at Norm S. Hill Park, near the Nith River. The ceremony was led by local Indigenous elders and a sacred fire burned from dawn until dusk.
Meanwhile in downtown Kitchener, hundreds of people made their way to Victoria Park as part of the Healing of The Seven Generation's "Remember Me, Remember Us" walk this year.
The walk started at the organization's main office on Frederick Street at 10 a.m. The group walked along Weber and Queen Street and met with others waiting at the clock tower.
Honking, drumming and singing could be heard from the crowd as the group made its way through downtown Kitchener.
People from nearby businesses waved as the group passed by while neighbours from a nearby apartment buildings came out to their balconies to show their support.
A wave of orange could be seen walking into Victoria Park from Queen Street. Several guest speakers made their remarks at the end of the walk. Community members also burned tobacco during a drumming circle.
Similar events also took place at the University of Waterloo on Friday, organized by the school's Office for Indigenous Relations.
A sunrise ceremony at 7 a.m. was the start of a day that held events like a walk along Ring Road, a feats and learning circle.
Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools or by the latest reports.
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for survivors and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
Mental health counselling and crisis support is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.