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Friday, Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
On this day, we honour all those whose lives were impacted by the residential school system – lost children, survivors, their families and communities. We also reflect on the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of these schools as we work towards reconciliation.
The City of Belleville will be hosting a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation event in George Zegouras Market Square behind City Hall beginning 11:45 a.m. on Sept. 30. The event will include opening remarks from Chief Don R. Maracle and Mayor Mitch Panciuk, a Wampum Belt demonstration with Jamie Maracle, presentation from Indigenous Proud artist Kory Parkin, vendors and more. An ASL interpreter will be providing support at the event. Residents are asked to wear orange in support of Orange Shirt Day.
“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for us to come together and really learn from one another as we reflect on the ongoing legacy of the residential school system,” said Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Councillor Sean Kelly. “This year’s focus is on ‘Education and Reconciliation’. It is our hope that residents will take in our wonderful guest speakers and come away from the event with newfound knowledge as we continue down the long path to reconciliation.”
In addition to the recognition event, the Bridge Street Bridge, BELLEVILLE sign and Firefighters Garden will be lit orange to honour this important day. The flag at City Hall will also be lowered to half-staff as we remember and mourn all victims of the residential school system.
A 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been created to provide support for former residential school students. Emotional crisis referral services can be accessed by calling: 1-866-925-4419. Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week for counselling and crisis intervention. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat.