3 walks, runs happening in London to honour first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Three walks and runs are happening in London, Ont., to honour the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this week.

Events are organized by N’Amerind Friendship Centre and Turtle Island Healing Walk

Orange-coloured smoke being released into the air during the Turtle Island Healing Walk this summer. It was a way to honour the victims and survivors of residential schools in Canada. (Sara Jabakhanji/CBC)

Three walks will be happening in London, Ont., to honour the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this week. 

Two of the three are organized by N'Amerind Friendship Centre in London; the other event is being put on by Turtle Island Healing Walk. All three will take place on Thursday, Sept. 30.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was legislated as a national statutory holiday this summer by the federal government, to honour children lost while attending residential schools and survivors, as well as their families and communities. 

The statutory holiday is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's calls to action. Although it's not being celebrated as a stat holiday provincewide, London will be treating it as such. 

Orange Shirt Day 5K Prayer Run

This five-kilometre run, which can also be walked, is organized by N'Amerind Friendship Centre. Although open to everybody, registration has now closed. The event has been approved by the city and Middlesex-London Health Unit allowing for 100 attendees. 

There are events leading up to the walk starting at 4:15 p.m. ET at Springbank Park in London. It is a fundraiser for the centre itself.

There will be events leading up to the Orange Shirt Day five-kilometre Prayer Run at 4:15 p.m. ET. (N’Amerind Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program Facebook page)

Nibi Walk

This walk, which is also organized by N'Amerind Friendship Centre, is approximately 32 kilometres, starting at the former site of the Mount Elgin Residential School and ending at the centre. It begins at 7 a.m.

The public may join the "honour walkers" along the way for this daylong walk, described as "an Indigenous, women-led path to healing."

Nibi Walk is approximately 32 kilometres starting at the former site of the Mount Elgin Residential School. (N'Amerind (London) Friendship Centre Facebook page)

Turtle Island Healing Walk: Connecting our Communities on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

This isn't a walk per se, but organizer Elyssa Rose said "you will be walking." This event takes place in Dundas Place in downtown London from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday. According to the Facebook event page, it is about "honouring and healing through connection while nurturing hope and reconciliation in our communities."

There will be vendors, conversations, art, food, and music among many other things over the course of the three hours downtown. Adrian Chrisjohn, chief of Oneida Nation of the Thames, and London Mayor Ed Holder will be there for the opening.

Jingle dress dancers who were standing at the entrance of Victoria Park in London, Ont., prepared to set off on the healing walk this summer. (Sara Jabakhanji/CBC)

Participation of allies

When it comes to how Indigenous allies can participate respectfully in these, or other events, happening on Sept. 30, Joel Kennedy with N'Amerind Friendship Centre suggests reaching out to the event organizers to see if ally participation is possible and how.