In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, the Town will light the Municipal Centre building orange. The lighting will begin the evening of September 29 and will remain in place until the morning of October 1. The Town of Okotoks is officially observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 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.
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.
While most Town buildings (Okotoks Municipal Centre, Okotoks Art Gallery, Operations Centre, Family Resource Centre, and the Eco Centre) will be closed, the Okotoks Museum and Archives, Okotoks Recreation Centre and Pason Centennial Arenas will remain open to the public, and waste collection services will operate as scheduled.
Ways to engage in person on Sept. 30:
The Okotoks Museum & Archives will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature the 2014 documentary Little Moccasins about the children buried at the Dunbow Residential School, located northeast of Okotoks. Also on display will be history about the school and the shoes that are preserved from the 215 memorial held in Okotoks in June. Admission is free, visit the museum at 49 North Railway Street: Event page.
Outside of the Municipal Centre, orange pinwheels, ribbons and other items that formed part of the memorial established in recognition of the unmarked residential school graves remain in place.
Ways to engage virtually:
- Okotoks Public Library is offering a Blackfoot Story Robe take home craft kit, and has related book displays throughout the library.
- Orange Shirt Day celebrations from Trellis Society (registration required):
- Family Practices and Oral Learning: A family night for all ages. Sept 29, 6-7:15 p.m.
- Expanding Our Relations: Oral concepts of understanding Sept 30, 1-3 p.m
- University of Calgary programming focused on intergenerational trauma and healing through the lens of Indigenous literature and film
- Alberta Recreation & Parks: Walking with Indigenous Communities
- Visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website to read the reports and Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC)
- Learn more about Orange Shirt Day and its origins at orangeshirtday.org
- Learn more about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women at mmiwg-ffada.ca
- The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Legacy of Hope Residential School Survivors' stories drawn from the Our Stories…Our Strength video collection
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.
The Government of Canada recently 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.
To honour the importance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Town of Okotoks will close administrative operations on September 30. Most Town buildings (Okotoks Municipal Centre, Okotoks Art Gallery, Operations Centre, Family Resource Centre, and the Eco Centre) will be closed. The Okotoks Recreation Centre and Pason Centennial Arenas, Museum and Archives will remain open to the public, and 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. September 30 is also recognized annually across Canada as Orange Shirt Day, which is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC in May 2013. The date of September 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.
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