Okanagan College is inviting people across the region to join our learning community in marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, as we journey together on the path to work with, listen to and learn from Indigenous peoples.
The community is invited to several free events:
- Thursday, Sept. 22 – Jingle Dance: History, Meaning and Celebration. Jingle Dress Dancer Janessa Lambert, a former OC student, will guide us on a celebration of the history of Jingle Dance, etiquette and format of a powwow, how regalia is made, and even a chance to learn to dance yourself. The event will be at OC’s Penticton campus, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Sept. 23 – 13th annual Youth Exhibition Powwow. Organized by Indigenous Services, this Kelowna campus event is a favourite with school children and community members. Listen to drummers from nations throughout Turtle Island as they establish the beat for Traditional, Chicken, Grass, Fancy, Jingle and Hoop Dancers. Grand entry begins at 9:30 a.m., with dancing continuing throughout the day and the closing ceremony and feast scheduled for 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 27 – Lessons from the Field: Learning from and teaching in an Indigenous community. OC is presenting a webinar for educators about teaching in an Indigenous community. Moderated by Chantale Hutchinson, Clinton Brochu from the Trades and Apprenticeship portfolio will share lessons he has learned and advice for educators starting the journey of thinking about and working and learning in Indigenous communities. The webinar will be held at 3:15 p.m. on Zoom. Registration is required and more information is available on the Okanagan College website, under OC Events.
- Tuesday, Sept. 27 – Screening and discussion of Indian Horse. The screening will feature Indian Horse, the film adaptation of Richard Wagamese’s award-winning novel, followed by a facilitated discussion. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. The screening will be held in the Lecture Theatre (S104) at the Kelowna campus, starting at 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 29 – Lowering of the flags. Okanagan College will hold a brief ceremony at 2:15 p.m. at the Kelowna campus, in recognition of the confirmation by Tḱemlúps te Secwepemc, and honouring all those impacted by the legacy of Indian Residential School System. Flags will remain lowered at all campuses on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Sept. 30).
For people who cannot attend the events, OC’s I Pledge Campaign enables anyone to demonstrate support and commitment to reconciliation. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/pledge to add your name to the growing list of people who have committed to reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action and/or add a personal commitment that is meaningful to you.
That webpage also showcases information and resources to help people learn about the Indian Residential School System, colonialism in Canada, and the legacy of their impacts on Indigenous people. There are a variety of links that showcase different perspectives and Indigenous voices, including reading lists, music, podcasts, movies, documentaries and social media influencers.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation can be an emotional time for many in our region, and the following services are available to support survivors and anyone impacted:
- A national crisis line is available, offering emotional and crisis referral services for Indian Residential School System survivors and those affected. The 24-hour national crisis line can be contacted at 1-866-925-4419.
- Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society operates a crisis line providing culturally relevant support for Indigenous, Metis and Inuit peoples. The crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia: 1-800-588-8717 (toll free). Alternatively, you can call directly into the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/.
- The First Nations Health Authority also has a Mental Health Benefit.
For the OC community:
- OC Students can access support through OC Counselling Services
- Employees should contact the OC Employee and Family Assistance Program
“The Indian Residential School System in Canada and the legacy of that system continues in the lived experience of trauma still felt by survivors, their families and all those impacted for generations into the future. Our hope is that by holding time and space to acknowledge the trauma that exists and persists, to listen, and to learn how to actively support Indigenous members of our community, we will contribute to the process of healing,” said Meri Kim Oliver, Vice-President, Students.