Hundreds of people gathered at Prince’s Island Park on Friday, Sept. 30 for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

The Pokaiks Commemorative Walk was held to honour the survivors of residential schools and the children who never returned home. The day is about coming together to recognize the tragedies and show support for better changes.

Diana Frost, one of the organizers said the event is about walking together whether you are a part of the Indigenous community or not.

“I hope more people will become aware of the issues and become informed about what the history was,” Frost said. Adding that she hopes people will recognize the “ongoing issues in the Indigenous community — such as a lack of equity — where Indigenous people aren’t offered the same opportunities as others.” 

Hundreds of Calgarians gather in Prince’s Island Park to take in traditional performances and speakers. PHOTO: JASLEEN BHANGU

The day featured discussion panels with event organizers and community leaders, as well as booths for small businesses, run by the Indigenous community. 

Elders and community members spoke about their experiences of working to gain equality and recognition. 

Duane Mistaken Chief,  Elder Edmee Comstock, Chantal Chagnon, and Dr. Kerrie Moore amongst other panellists get ready for their speeches. PHOTO: JASLEEN BHANGU

The event also highlighted the Red Dress campaign — which sheds light on the ongoing issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

Âba Tapen owns the small business Sweet-Grass Sage Designs. Her hand-beaded jewelry showcases her Indigenous roots and culture.

“Being a part of this event is about supporting one another,” said Tapen. “It is a great opportunity for everyone to come together with Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies, where people’s stories are heard and understood.”

Randy sells at the booth for Sweet-Grass Sage Designs. PHOTO: JASLEEN BHANGU

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