Truth and Reconciliation Week has officially begun in Lethbridge with opening ceremonies taking place at city hall Monday morning.
“Reconciliation is a big, wonderful word,” Blackfoot elder and residential school survivor Mike Bruised Head said.
The ceremony included a speech from Bruised Head, who spoke on the importance of practicing reconciliation.
“(It) cannot be a false reconciliation statement where we all applaud for one day and then turn our back on Blackfoot or Indigenous people,” Bruised Head said.
Monday kicked off a week full of ceremony, activities and education throughout Lethbridge, highlighting Indigenous culture and history.
Both Lethbridge post-secondary institutions are hosting events, including a public exhibit documenting the experiences of Sixties Scoop survivors that Lethbridge College is unveiling on Tuesday.
Officials believe these resources will help their students transition into the workforce.
“It’s not a question of where you’re going to work in Canada — you’re going to be exposed to Indigenous communities and you have to be aware of the challenges associated with working in an Indigenous community,” said Lowell Yellowhorn, the college’s manager of Indigenous services.
Advocates are asking southern Albertans to spend the week thinking about their place in reconciliation and imploring others to continue the conversation long after the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this Friday.
“How can we have a part and a role in our day-to-day lives, in the city of Lethbridge, our families and friends, to acknowledge but move forward in a positive way,” said Charlene Bruised Head-Mountain Horse, the city of Lethbridge Indigenous relations advisor.
“You do your own reconciliation every day, wherever you work, live and communicate,” Bruised Head said.
“It’s got to be embedded in the consciousness of people.”
Lethbridge College begins their Truth and Reconciliation Week events with an opening prayer from Blackfoot grandparent Betty Ann Little Wolf on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
The Sixties Scoop exhibit will be available to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
The University of Lethbridge continues its activities with a screening and discussion of Beans, a film written and directed by Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer on Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
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