The ?aq’am Community will be holding a number of events to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday, Sept. 30.
Preparations will begin on Thursday, Sept. 29, at the ?aq’am Arbour and Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services Society parking lot for a pow wow that will be held at the Dan Joe Memorial Gym on Saturday.
Thursday’s preparations will begin at 3:30 pm and run till 8:00 p.m. with opportunities to learn about pow wow protocol. regalia, drum and dances.
On Friday, Sept 30 — the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — there will be a Truth and Reconciliation Walk starting at the St. Eugene Mission building starting at 10 a.m.
Similar to last year, the walk will begin at the St. Eugene Mission building and end at a place called ‘Crying Hill” — a hill overseeing the ?aq’am Community that provides the first sightline to the St. Eugene Mission building, which was formerly a residential school.
Crying Hill is so named because it is where Ktunaxa and Indigenous children would first see the old residential school building and would cry, as told by Juanita Eugene at last year’s walk, who received that knowledge from Herman Alpine, a prominent Ktunaxa elder.
A lunch will be provided from 1- 2 p.m. and a youth open mic will be held afterwards until 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 is also “Orange Shirt Day”, where people are encouraged to wear orange shirts as a symbol of the culture, freedom and self-esteem that was taken from Indigenous children over generations because of residential school policies.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, there will be the ?aq’amnik school traditional pow wow at the Dan Joe Memorial Gym, with grand entry times at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and a feast at 5:30 p.m.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours Indigenous children who never returned home from residential schools, as well as survivors, their families and their communities.
The day was created as one of 94 calls to action stemming from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which ran from 2008-2015 and provided those directly and indirectly affected by the legacy of residential school policy an opportunity to share their stories and experiences.
The 94 calls to action are wide ranging and can be found online at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website.
The St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino is a thriving business wholly owned by the four Canadian Ktunaxa Nation bands and the Shuswap Indian band.
However, it has a dark and painful history.
The Canadian government funded the construction of the red-brick Kootenay Indian Residential School which opened in 1912 and operated for nearly 60 years.
It was abandoned for nearly two decades, until it was restored by the Ktunaxa over ten years as an act of transformative resilience, healing, and economic engine, opening fully in 2003 as a golf resort and casino, along with the recent addition of an RV park.
The resort also includes three onsite restaurants as well as a Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre, which displays handcrafted items and other culturally significant artifacts.
To learn more about the ?aq’am Community, visit their website at www.aqam.net
To learn more about the Ktunaxa Nation, visit their website at www.ktunaxa.org