A five-kilometre walk in Tsawwassen and a trio of blanket exercises around Delta are planned to mark this year’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Happening on Friday, Sept. 30 — which is also Orange Shirt Day — the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours the children, families and communities affected by Canada’s residential schools, with hundreds of activities planned across the country to commemorate the system’s tragic history and ongoing impact.
Beginning at 10 a.m., the Tsawwassen First Nation is hosting a five-kilometre Reconciliation Walk around Tsawwassen Mills. The walk is open to the public and participants are encouraged to wear orange.
The event will begin with an opening ceremony and song at the TFN Recreation Centre (1929 Tsawwassen Dr.) and end with a closing ceremony in the parking lot at the corner of Blue Heron Way and Salish Sea Drive.
With limited parking available at the rec centre, participants are asked to use public transit or walk to the event. For those who drive to the walk, it’s recommended to park at Tsawwassen Mills and walk in along Blue Heron Way (located near the Shell station on Salish Sea Drive).
Meanwhile, the City of Delta is hosting a trio of blanket exercises for residents as a way to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
According to a city press release, a blanket exercise is an interactive and experiential teaching tool that explores the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
“Participants step onto blankets representing land and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. The exercise facilitators, playing the roles of a European ‘settler’ and narrator, walk the group through a script (there is an adult script and a youth script), telling the story of the first contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
“As the script progresses, blankets are folded and made smaller, representing the results of the loss of land by treaty and newly legislated reserves. People are asked to step off their blankets, symbolizing disease, war and extinction. Blankets are removed or moved to other areas, showing the way land was taken and peoples relocated.
“The exercise concludes with participants discussing the experience in a healing circle.”
Blanket exercises will be held on Friday, Sept. 30 at Harris Barn in Ladner (4140 Arthur Dr.) from 1-4 p.m. and the North Delta Recreation Centre (11415 84th Ave.) from 6-9 p.m., as well as at the South Delta Recreation Centre (1720 56th St.) on Saturday, Oct. 1 form 9 a.m. to noon.
There is no fee to attend, however pre-registration is required as space is limited to 40 participants per exercise. Links to the registration site are available at delta.ca/city-hall/diversity-inclusion/truth-and-reconciliation.
To mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Delta City Hall, North Delta Centre for the Arts and North Delta Recreation Centre will be lit up in orange this week and “Every Child Matters” flags will be flown at city facilities. The city has also purchased orange shirts for staff to wear, with proceeds going to the Orange Shirt Society.