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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, PWL Red Deer

October 13th, 2021

Residents and employee care partners at Points West Living Red Deer observed Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, with learning, reflection, and remembrance. Many also wore something orange for the day.

Reflection, honour, rememberance

“It was a day or reflection, honour, and remembering the lost children and survivors of residential schools and their families and communities,” says recreation coordinator Susan-Lynn Whissell (lower right in above photo). “We remembered through stories told by residents and employee care partners of indigenous descent; through cultural awareness, music, and bannock.”

“The traditional Metis bannock was made from the family recipe of resident Arthur Perrin (pictured above left),” says Susan-Lynn, “and served traditionally with Saskatoon berry jam. The fragrance and taste brought back memories as we enjoyed the treat together over coffee and stories of the past.”

Orange shirts, ribbons and rocks

Orange was the colour of the day, including showing of the documentary ‘The story of Orange Shirt Day’, and tying orange ribbons around some trees in the courtyard. The ribbons were provided by the City of Red Deer’s ‘Orange Ribbon Campaign’.

Throughout the month of September, residents and care partners painted rocks in preparation for truth and reconciliation day. “In collaboration with our sister property, Three Robins Red Deer, the communities came together, creating two painted rock tree memorials at PWL Red Deer,” Susan-Lynn says. “The trees and rocks represent an expression of solidarity with survivors, and of grief for the lost children. We said a prayer together around the memorial trees.”

“It was a great day reflecting and immersing in indigenous cultural awareness and recognizing National Day for Truth & Reconciliation.”

Photo: (Clockwise from left) Wanda Oster (Alberta Health Services Recreation Therapist) whips up a batch of bannock using resident Arthur Perrin’s family recipe; painted rocks; Susan-Lynn Whissell leads community prayer around one of the memorial trees.

More photos at Flickr: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, PWL Red Deer

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