People from all walks of life celebrated National Aboriginal Day throughout the country Tuesday, and it’s not ending in Saskatoon.
A walk for reconciliation drew more than 2,500 people to Victoria Park Wednesday.
More than 30 organizations banded together for the “Rock your Roots” event to mark Day of Reconciliation in the city.
They hope to drum up support so that governments start taking action on the truth and reconciliation recommendations.
“It’s affected not only the residential school survivors, but their families as well,” said Saskatoon Tribal Council Vice Chief, Mark Arcand. “We need to come together to make a difference.”
Arcand feels the City of Saskatoon is doing a great job implementing the recommendations.
“We want to stand side by side with the City,” he said. “They’re doing a great job and are one of the leaders in Canada.”
Mayor Don Atchison told the crowd Tuesday, Saskatoon was the first city to recognize and act on the recommendations in Canada.
Still, Arcand said he doesn’t feel the Government of Canada is doing enough.
“If Saskatoon and all the small town’s can do it, then the province should be stepping up to the plate as well,” he said.
How does the average person think the government is doing on the calls to action?
“Not very good,” said Pamela Walker, who attended National Aboriginal Celebrations on Tuesday. “For it to get better, I think we need to see a lot more First Nation politics going on then there is right now.”
Even though people may think the walk is for indigenous people, Arcand said that’s not the case at all.
“We want everybody at the walk, not just aboriginal people,” he said.
The walk kicks off 10 a.m. at Victoria Park, 17th Street and Spadina Crescent, with greetings from organizers. It’ll be followed by the main event, starting around 10:30 a.m.
Other events take place starting at 9:30 a.m. and run until 3:30 p.m. as follows:
- Free Community BBQ hosted by Central Urban Metis Federation Inc.
- Learning Activities in Tipi Village
- Heart Garden: This interactive display will feature contributions from students from the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division.
- Partner Exhibit Booths
- TIPI Village: Indigenous Artisans will be available at each of the tipis to share the traditional ways of the Indigenous people of Treaty #6 Territory.
- Entertainment Stage: The Gordon Tootoosis Theatre have partnered with the Reconciliation committee to showcase the diverse cultures that make up our beautiful city, through music and dance.
- Education Tent: Historical Canada Video presentations. Learn about Treaty Signing and hear residential school era survivors testimony and other interesting historical facts concerning Indigenous people in Canada.
- Arts and Crafts Display: Indigenous artists will be on hand to share their skills and gifts in the artisan’s tent.