Following the Walk for the Children, events continued to mark the second National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Penticton’s Gyro Park.
The Celebration of Indigenous Culture and Resiliency, like the walk earlier that day, brought a sea of orange shirts to recognize the many victims of the residential school system, the living, the dead and the many who remain missing.
The park was filled with people of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous heritage. They came to enjoy the culture of the First Nations, through dance and song, and to learn.
“The way we want to keep the message strong is through these types of events, and these events are happening throughout the Interior and everywhere in Canada,” said Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel. “These events are so important and it just amazes me the amount of people that are now starting to come out, walk with us and then spend the day with us in recognizing and honouring our residential school survivors.
Gabriel said that while the conversations that are now happening are good, they need to be followed up by action by government officials. It’s something that he hasn’t seen yet, and something that he plans to keep pushing for.
The Four Seasons Cultural Society hosted the event, inviting local Indigenous Elders and residential school survivors to share their stories in between celebrations of First Nations’ culture.
Indigenous dancers from not just the local Okanagan Syilx Nation but other bands participated, with the sound of the Red Spotted Horse Drummers behind them.
Three generations of the local Jack family sang the traditional Okanagan Song to ring in the event.
The exhibition of culture at Gyro Park was also a taste of a big event in Penticton in 2023: the Between Two Lakes Pow Wow.
For the first time, the pow wow is set to be held at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
To do that though, the Four Seasons Cultural Society is going to need more volunteers, and they put out the call at Gyro Park.
The pow wow is scheduled for June 2023, and will need anywhere from 50 to 70 volunteers to make it a success.
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