What’s happening in Hamilton to mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


Published September 29, 2021 at 11:35 am

This image of the Survivors' Flag is shared via the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Facebook page.

The first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is Thursday (Sept. 30) and while it’s a federal statutory holiday, the Ontario government decided to not make it a provincial holiday.

This means, for the most part, things will be business as usual around Hamilton but there are still ways to mark this important day.

The holiday was one of the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — meant to honour Canada’s residential school survivors, their families and communities and to publicly commemorate the history and painful legacy of the schools.

Wearing an orange-coloured shirt is one way to express solidarity with Canada’s Indigenous populations as doing so has come to represent resilience and affirms a commitment that every child matters.

So what else can we do to commemorate this day and to come to understand its importance? Here is a list of events happening around Hamilton on Thursday to mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

1. Westdale Cinema free programming

The iconic Westdale cinema is offering free programming that reflects the intention of the day. The theatre is screening two films throughout the day that explore the impact of Canada’s residential schools and colonization. More information, including showtimes, can be found on the Westdale Cinema website or social media accounts.

2. Art Gallery of Hamilton

The AGH is hosting a Learning and Action workshop led by Hamilton Indigenous community members Jordan Carrier, Michael Blashkoand Rebecca Hammond. The workshop will combine stories and discussion on how we should understand this day, and how we can better follow through on the collective work of reconciliation. The event is being held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the gallery’s Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion and is free to attend. It can also be accessed via Zoom. Registration information can be found on the AGH website.

3. Hamilton Regional Indian Centre (HRIC)

The HRIC is hosting a free event throughout the day Thursday at 34 Ottawa St. N. The event will feature crafts, drumming, food, vendors and more. More information, including a schedule of events, can be found on the HRIC Facebook page and website.

4. Hamilton Public Library programming

The Hamilton Public Library (HPL) is hosting a series of online presentations, readings and Q and As that will highlight Indigenous culture and themes, as well as discuss the impact of colonization and the painful legacy of residential schools. A list of events, as well as recommendations for reading, can be found on the HPL website.

5. ACCA community conversation

Hamilton’s Afro Canadian Caribbean Association is hosting a community conversation via Zoom with Pat Mandy, a member of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and a respected and retired leader in the Health care sector. Check the ACCA website and social media accounts for information on how to register for and get access to the discussion.

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