National Day for Truth and Reconciliation recognized in Okotoks with an Official Ceremony

Truth and Reconciliation Day Sept 30

Special Indigenous Ceremony offered to the Public

To honour the importance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the public are welcome to attend a Blackfoot ceremony for residential school survivors, non-survivors and the lost children that will take place on Friday, September 30 at 10:00 a.m. outside the Okotoks Art Gallery in Piistoo Park, 53 North Railway Street. All are welcome to attend and partake in this significant ceremony. There will be a round dance after the ceremony along with traditional berry soup and bannock.

The Okotoks Museum & Archives, Okotoks Art Gallery, Okotoks Recreation Centre and Centennial Arenas will be open to the public. Town administrative offices will be closed on September 30 including the Municipal Centre, Operations Centre, Family Resource Centre, and the Eco Centre. Waste collection services will operate as scheduled.

As the Town sets aside time to reflect on the day and honour survivors, their families and their communities, the community is encouraged to do the same.

Orange Shirt Day

Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. On September 30, we encourage everyone to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.

Municipal Centre building lights to be orange in honour of day

To commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and to honour the Survivors, their families and communities, the Okotoks Municipal Centre will be illuminated in orange until sunrise the next morning.  

Town Building Hours and Closure Notices

While most Town buildings (Okotoks Municipal Centre, Operations Centre, Family Resource Centre, and the Eco Centre) will be closed, the Okotoks Museum & Archives, Okotoks Art Gallery, Okotoks Recreation Centre and the Centennial Arenas will remain open to the public, and waste collection services will operate as scheduled.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Exhibits - ways to engage in person:

Exhibits displayed at the Okotoks Art Gallery and Okotoks Museum & Archives between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on September 30 for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

Little Moccasins
Okotoks Museum & Archives (OMA)
49 North Railway Street

The museum will feature the documentary Little Moccasins and the St. Joseph’s (Dunbow) Residential School exhibit on the second floor. The 2014 documentary film, Little Moccasins, shares the story of St. Joseph’s Residential School, also known as Dunbow Residential School northeast of Okotoks, and honours the children who died and are buried at the school. 

Every Child Matters – Reconciliation – Act Two
Okotoks Museum & Archives (OMA)
49 North Railway Street

Up in the attic, the museum presents the video ‘Every Child Matters – Reconciliation – Act Two.’ This inspiring video, courtesy of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, is the sequel to the video shown last year entitled ‘Every Child Matters – Truth – Act One’ and features a cross-Canada collection of Indigenous voices.

Big Rock River: Contemporary Indigenous Art in an Ancient Land
Large Gallery, Okotoks Art Gallery (OAG)
53 North Railway Street

The signatories of Treaty 7 include the Kainai (Blood Tribe), Aapatohsipiikani (Northern Piikani), Siksika Nation and Aamsskaapipiikani (Southern Piikuni), Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Sioux, Stoney Nakoda First Nations (Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Goodstoney First Nations), as well as the historic homeland of the Metı́s Nation (Region 3). Ohkotoksitahtayi, the river named for the Big Rock and also known as the Sheep River, lies at the heart of this region and is imbued with and surrounded by thousands of years of Indigenous history, story and art. This narrative continues, revealed by the wealth of artistry being created by contemporary Indigenous artists who call Treaty 7 home, and whose practices are rooted in rich cultural legacies.

These practices are exemplified by the seven nationally recognized artists we are proud to represent in the Okotoks Art Gallery’s first exhibition of Treaty 7 art, including Judy Anderson, Brittney Bear Hat, tīná gúyáńí (Deer Road), Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal, Lucas Hale and Adrian Stimson.

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The Government of Canada passed legislation marking September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Town of Okotoks has decided to officially observe this day to recognize and commemorate the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools as part of the reconciliation process and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action

Since 2019, the Town has undertaken work with Indigenous stakeholders to engage with the Indigenous community and will continue working to determine how to move forward authentically and meaningfully as a municipality. This includes engaging with the Blackfoot Confederacy, Tsuut’ina Nation and Stoney Nakoda Nations in undertaking a Traditional Knowledge and Use Assessment (TKUA) in the coming weeks to provide a categorization of all lands in Okotoks based on their potential to contain important traditional resources or that have special significance to First Nations based on the land’s history and cultural significance. 

The Town recognizes the journey to reconciliation is a long one, and observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important first step in the process. The Town of Okotoks is committed to reconciliation and building a relationship through dialogue with the Indigenous community to ensure that Okotoks is an inclusive community that respects their history, traditions and culture.