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Orange Shirt Day events set for Sept. 29 and 30 in Bonnyville

A drive through process is scheduled for Thursday evening in Bonnyville, while a full day of events is set for Sept. 30 in acknowledgement of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation & Orange Shirt Day.
2021 drive through

BONNYVILLE - Two days have been set aside to recognize survivors of residential schools and those who never returned home. 

First up, the Lakeland Society for Truth and Reconciliation is holding a drive through town procession on Sept. 29 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, starting and ending at the Bonnyville & District Centennial parking lot.

People are encouraged to take wear orange and step out onto the street while the procession passes by and decorate the windows of their homes with the colour orange, according to Corita Vachon, one of the event organizers. She notes that last year, the procession was "very fulfilling."

Traditional music will be played as the procession makes its way through the community, honouring those who did not make it home from residential schools.

Then, on Sept. 30, a full day of activities have been lined up for people to attend, learn and listen. A teepee raising will start the day at 9 a.m., also at the Centennial Centre. Then, at 11 a.m., rotating workshops will be offered, running until 3 p.m.

There will be theatre, hoop dancing and jigging on the schedule, along with other things. Traditional meals will be served, such as moose stew and bannock. There is not cost to take part in the day, according to Vachon. 

An hour of time has also been set aside for performances from 3 to 4 p.m.

Then, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and orange shirt walk will make its way down Main Street, then back to the Centennial Centre, where supper will be served. After supper, speeches and performances will again take place.

While it's been a lot of work to coordinate the event, and many performers and speakers are booked for other Orange Shirt Day events, the day is coming together nicely and will feature a few very talented local people - from across the Lakeland.

"it's going to be a really good, fulfilling day," says Vachon. 

The evening speakers will include survivor testimonies, Warrior Society Traditional Drummers, Kehewin Native Dance Threatre, hoop dancer Beany John, Métis fiddler Karen Dion, and youth champion powwow dancers, for example. 

The event is being sponsored by Heritage Canada/Patrimoine canadien.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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