George Design

St. Marys to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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Everyone invited to partake in meaningful activities on Thursday, Sept. 30

Education, respect and moving forward in solidarity are key to the Town of St. Marys’ commemoration of the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30.

All activities will take place at the north end of scenic Milt Dunnell Field, beginning at 7:30 a.m. with the lighting of a sacred fire by local Indigenous educator Patsy Anne Day. The fire will be tended by Day and assistant keepers until approximately 5:00 p.m., and all are invited to participate.

In Indigenous cultures, Sacred Fires are lit to honour Creation, to give thanks and for personal reflection. Four sacred medicines are available to assist in reflection: tobacco at the east, sweetgrass at the south, sage at the west and cedar at the north. 

Participants are to approach the fire from the east (marked with orange ribbons), take a pinch of the provided tobacco, and reflect as they sprinkle the tobacco into the fire. The path of medicines is followed around the fire; when participants have finished this path, they may stay in meditation or leave via the eastern door.

In addition to the fire, attendees can add their handprint, in orange paint, to a drop cloth as a sign of cultural solidarity between Indigenous peoples and Canadian settlers. There will also be a variety of local and handmade Indigenous crafts available by donation to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

At approximately 4:00 p.m. Indigenous author S.P. Joseph Lyons, an Anishinaabe Algonquin children's author will read and discuss his children’s book Little Bear in Foster Care. Children can participate in a free craft to help create a “heart garden” that will eventually be placed at Town Hall.

All attendees are reminded to social distance and to mask when this is not possible. 

A special orange flag will be raised at all municipal buildings on September 30. The flag, which includes the words “Every Child Matters” was designed by Jeffrey “Red” George, an Ojibway artist who grew up on the lands of the First Nation of Kettle and Stoney Point.

“The spirit of the eagle delivers our prayers to the great spirit. An eagle is a symbol of honours, truth, and respect. An eagle feather represents courage,” says George of his design. Town of St. Marys employees have also received shirts with the design, and the entire community is encouraged to wear orange shirts in honour of the day.

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For media inquiries:
Andrea Macko, Events Coordinator
519-284-2340, ext. 249 | amacko@town.stmarys.on.ca