On Sept. 30, the Town of Ponoka, which is located on Treaty 6 territory, will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to recognize and commemorate the history of residential schools.
To honour the importance of this new federal statutory holiday, the town flags at the Ponoka Civic Centre will be lowered to half-mast.
Town facilities will also be closed that day with the exception of the Aquaplex and Arena Complex.
“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day is a time for us all to take a moment of silence to reflect on the history of residential schools and educate ourselves on the 94 calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,” said Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was created by the Government of Canada in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 80, which calls for a federal statutory day of public commemoration to reflect on the ongoing impacts of residential schools, and to honour survivors, their families and communities.
Sept. 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led, grass roots commemorative day that honours the children who survived residential schools and remembers those who did not.
“As a way to bring awareness to the painful legacy of residential schools, the town is also encouraging Ponoka citizens and town staff to wear orange on Sept. 30,” said CAO Sandra Lund.
Lund notes that as part of the town’s 2018 to 2023 strategic plan, the town is involved in ongoing initiatives to build stronger and meaningful relationships with Ponoka’s First Nations neighbours.
“Continuing to strengthen relationships with our neighbours and exploring ways that we can work with them to collaborate on initiatives of mutual benefit for all of our communities are priorities of town council,” said Lund.
“Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is just one additional way we felt we could show support for our neighbouring Indigenous communities.”
From Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will be hosting a five-day online event with historical workshops, informational videos, activities, and artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists.