Many residents in Smithers gathered at the Bulkley Valley Museum and Boville Square Thursday (Sept 30) for the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The event began at the Museum where a march began to Boville Square where a drumming circle and songs took place.
Survivors of the residential school system and their families spoke at the event reflecting on the trauma of residential schools.
Co-organizer of the event Kayla Mitchell said it is important that the stories get shared and are heard.
“It is so important that we hear these stories so they are not forgotten. These children will not be forgotten, our survivors will not be forgotten and with this day and continuing on every year we will not forget,” she said.
During the event, speakers at the event who were residential school survivors received a gift bag from Mitchell as well as a grandfather rock which helps with healing according to Mitchell.
She also expressed appreciation of the community joining together.
“As allies and as community members and as Smithers, BC on Gidimt’en yintah, we will do better. Coming together like this is so beautiful and I can just see our future and it’s bright,” Mitchell said.
Additionally, a demonstration was held on the Morice Forest Service Road in Houston where a March was held to the 63km mark.
Indigenous children were taken from their families for residential schools which were ofen church- run from 1880 to 1996.
These schools stripped Indigenous peoples of their families, culture and language and were often severely punished.
To donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society you can go to their website.