Quesnel will be holding a couple of Orange Shirt Day events tomorrow (Saturday) as part of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Tony Goulet is the Executive Director of the Quesnel Tillicum Society.
“On the 30th of September there will be several things going on. From 11 until 2 there will be a drop-in at the Friendship Centre, just learning about truth and reconciliation and the calls to action, everybody is invited. There will be some light snacks and just a conversation to engage in what Orange Shirt Day is and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The other is Lhtako Red Bluff is having an event at the Lhtako Dene Park, it says around 11 or just shortly after that as well. They will be having some displays set up and just doing some cultural stuff down at the park.”
Goulet says he doesn’t consider this a celebration.
“I don’t want to use the word celebration. I think it’s more of an awareness campaign as to what was done at residential school and to listen to those survivors, so it’s a campaign to be able to just understand and move forward with the residential school.”
We asked Goulet if we were making progress on this issue.
“We’re making progress yes, but there is still a lot more to do within that right ? A lot more education and a lot more just getting the message out and saying that this was an actual thing that happened to indigenous people when they went to residential school, and all people that went to that residential school, so the impacts and just how can we work forward with that”
Goulet says this day means a lot to First Nations in the Quesnel area.
“It’s quite amazing because it’s so close to here with Williams Lake and the St. Joseph’s Residential School, and we did have a lot of people from the Quesnel area that did actually attend that school as well, so it’s quite the thing to just try and push forward. I know a lot is happening in Williams Lake, they’re purchasing that site and then the 215 came up as well in the Kamloops area, and now all of the residential schools in all of these places are all starting to do their own investigations.”
Goulet says survivors of these schools have been holding a lot in for a long time and now these conversations are coming out.