An events guide for Reconciliation Week in Vancouver

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      This morning (September 17), dozens of cedar dugout canoes coasted through False Creek to mark the start of Reconciliation Week in Vancouver.

      The event is one of many taking place around Vancouver as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s annual program to remember the legacy of residential schools and celebrate aboriginal culture.

      Official TRC events are being held at the PNE this Wednesday (September 18) to Saturday (September 21). A full program is available for download at the TRC’s website. A schedules of select events highlighted in that document appears below.

      The four-day exhibition begins tomorrow (September 17) at 8 a.m. with a “survivors’ walk” from the “sacred fire site” to the Coliseum. (A map of the PNE detailing TRC functions appears at the bottom of this page.)

      “The Lighting of the Sacred Fire happens before we begin each National Event to ensure that the Spirits and the Teachings guide and protect us while the Commission does its work,” the TRC event program states.

      Following the walk will be the opening ceremony that will welcome residential school survivors and “honorary witnesses” who will listen to survivors’ stories.

      Elsewhere in the city, on Sunday (September 22), Reconciliation Canada will mark the end of Reconciliation Week with a walk that begins at Queen Elizabeth Plaza at West Georgia and Hamilton. That event is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and will be preceded by a keynote speech by the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

      More than 150,000 aboriginal children attended residential schools. Many experienced trauma including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. According to the TRC, it's estimated that more than 3,000 children died of disease or accidents while they were boarding students at the schools, which were run by the church and funded by the Government of Canada.

      Note that the schedule below only include a small selection of TRC events. For the complete program, visit the TRC’s website.

      Wednesday, September 18, 2013

      8-8:30 a.m.Survivor walkFrom Sacred Fire to Coliseum
      9-10:30 a.m.Welcome to the Territory: Opening ceremonies and induction of honorary witnessesColiseum
      11 a.m.-12 p.m.How to Share your TruthForum - Sharing Circle Area
      11 a.m.-1 p.m.Reconciliation Dialogue: Be the Change: Young people healing the past and building the futureColiseum
      1-2:30 p.m.Creating and Sharing Digital StoriesForum - Program Area
      1-3 p.m.Survivors in SolidarityForum - Panel Area
      3-4 p.m.From the Heart ProjectForum - Program Area
      4-5 p.m.Call to Gather: Honorary witness ceremony and reflectionsColiseum

      Thursday, September 19, 2013

      1-2:30 p.m.It Matters to Me: A town hall on reconciliationForum - Program Area
      4-6 p.m.Call to Gather: Honorary witness reflections and expressions of reconciliationForum - Panel Area
      7-9 p.m.Free concertColiseum

      Friday, September 20, 2013

      9-10 a.m.Why Memory Matters - panelForum - Program Area
      9-10:30 a.m.Honorary Witness Talking CircleForum - Panel Area
      10-11 a.m.Reconciliation and the Arts - panelForum - Program Area
      1-3:30 p.m.Reconciling Indigenous Healing and Health Education LeadershipForum - Program Area
      4-6 p.m.Call to Gather: Honorary witness reflections and expressions of reconciliationForum - Panel Area
      7-9 p.m.Talent NightForum - Panel Area

      Saturday, September 21, 2013

      9-10:30 a.m.Institutions of Memory - panelForum - Panel Area
      1-2:30 p.m.Honouring Women's Wisdom: Pathways of truth, resilience, and reconciliationForum - Program Area
      4-5 p.m.Call to Gather: Honorary witness reflections and expressions of reconciliationForum - Panel Area




      Hastings Sunrise Neighbourhood

      Sep 18, 2013 at 10:51am

      Is this not Hastings Park? Since when is the official name of this are the Pacific National Event Grounds?

      Carlos F

      Sep 18, 2013 at 10:33pm

      Withoput JUSTICE, reconciliation is impossible and many of those involved in the crimes against aboriginals have faced jail?,...true, they may be old, but age have never been an impediment to prosecute the Nazis for example. Reconciliation is another scheme invented by the perpetrators in an effort to white wash what they did...don't get sucked into it: it is another charade invented by the abusers

      allison f

      Sep 19, 2013 at 7:45am

      thanks Carlos F

      Green Billy

      Sep 19, 2013 at 12:48pm

      Nothing will change until people of every race and gender have the exact same rights under Canadian law.

      The solution to institutionalized racism in the past is to not continue institutionalized racism in the present. It's not that complicated.

      Kanu Braht

      Sep 19, 2013 at 4:56pm

      Did you know the PNE is where they held Japanese & other asian people before they interned them to the Kooteneys in WWII? This reconciliation week is for them, for the Dugabors, the First Nations, for anyone that wants to gather and learn truth from our countries history. GO and find out for yourself, if you don't know you don't know so GO find out for yourself instead of speculating, who knows maybe you'll get enlightened!

      Laurie Wilson

      Sep 19, 2013 at 9:32pm

      there is no healing, there is only awareness, this experience has made an imprint in all of our collective hearts, the suffering will stop with the tremendous spirituality and spirit that is ours as the Indigenous Peoples of this land... I for one do not wish to be an "ordinary Canadian, the same identity for all. This "equality" requires us as Indigenous Peoples to act and think like everyone else....let me take everything you hold dear and let me tell you that I want you to be just like means that I have to adhere to the nation wide maxim that "we stole it fair and square" when talking about our lands, resources, spirituality, culture..... Reconciliation is critical to the health of this country, it will never be achieved if the only attitude is for our collective history to be ignored and glossed over...don't need or want pity, don't need or want "handouts" ...truth and reconciliation requires us to acknowledge our truths and set a course for this never to happen again, ever. You say this what we are doing, the Ministry of children and Families carry on the work of this country with the wholesale apprehension of our children....children kept away from family because they cut up a deer in the kitchen, or because there is no railing on the stairs of the house. Truth and reconciliation means the crimes against our People must has not...what is the solution? It is not for my People to acquiesce to proud Canadians I am eager to hear what steps you suggest so that we can be partners in our homeland...

      First I've heard of this.

      Sep 19, 2013 at 9:42pm

      I just heard about this gathering now, on the 19th!

      Jon L

      Sep 20, 2013 at 8:16pm

      Frankly I feel that the First Nations people want to heal and move on with their lives. I think it's mostly white liberals who want to stay angry for media attention's sake.


      Sep 20, 2013 at 11:29pm

      Yes, this should have been better publicized. I think so many people of all backgrounds want to support Aboriginal Canadians and show our empathy and sorrow for all they have endured. Also, to show our respect for their strong and beautiful heritage. Unfortunately, the publicity is not there for these events.

      Went today

      Sep 20, 2013 at 11:32pm

      I had a chance today to be invited into a sacred space of healing at Hastings park. I am so thankful for that invitation. I don't deserve it as a Christian of European descent. I got to see 4 generations of one native family together, and witness that there is still life and vitality smoldering under the rubble.