Join the Town of Okotoks and Mayor Thorn at the newly created memorial site to honour Residential School Victims, Survivors and all those who have been and continue to be affected by the Residential School System. This site will also pay respect to all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and is an important step in the Town's journey towards Reconciliation with all Indigenous peoples.
There will be a Pipe Ceremony at 10 a.m. followed by berry soup, fry bread and a round dance. We encourage attendees to bring blankets, chairs and water bottles.
Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots movement that is also recognized on September 30. It brings attention to the harm Canada’s Residential School System inflicted on Indigenous children and their families, and the ongoing trauma that remains today. The intention of Orange Shirt Day is to create awareness of the impact of Residential Schools and to promote the concept of Every Child Matters.
On September 30, we encourage everyone to wear orange to honour Residential School Victims, Survivors and all those who have been and continue to be impacted affected by the Residential School System.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Exhibits - ways to engage in person:
There is also a number of ways you can engage in person at ongoing events and exhibits that honour Indigenous stories and culture happening throughout the month and leading up to September 30.
Little Moccasins, Okotoks Museum & Archives (OMA)
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. Learn more about Little Moccasins Exhibit.
Nitsitapiisksakoo: Nitsitapii Landscapes Part 2 , Okotoks Museum & Archives (OMA)
This travelling exhibit, from Lethbridge’s Galt Museum and Archives, highlights several special sites in Blackfoot Territory. Featured sites include Ohkohtoki (Okotoks Erratic), Soyioh’powah’ko (Blackfoot Crossing), Napi ootsisti’ kowanhpi (Napi’s Playground) and Kipitakiipis’kun/Akiipis’kun (Old Women’s/Women’s Buffalo Jump), among others. Learn more about Nitsitapiisksakoo: Nitsitapii Landscapes Part 2. In addition, the Museum will be showing “Every Child Matters: Truth – Act One” and “Reconciliation – Act Two,” in the attic. These videos are from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Note: The Okotoks Museum and Archives will be open from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. on September 30.
Indigenous Beading with Shermayn Menicoche, Okotoks Art Gallery and Studio
Learn the art of Indigenous beading with Dehcho Dene artist, Shermayn Menicoche, who will take you through the process of beading with the creation of your very own fringe earrings. A supply kit is included in the cost of registration. Learn more about Indigenous Beading with Shermayn Menicoche.
If you are interested in exploring additional resources, you can learn more online at the links below:
Online Community Engagement
- National Indigenous Peoples Day - A lesson in Powwow and the legend of "Napi and the Big Rock" a YouTube video provided as an online community engagement opportunity using social media and the Town website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyx9zeaYwxY
- Okotoks Public Library will have resources and related book displays throughout the library.
- 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
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.