Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
by Sonia Ruivo
Our Continuing Education centres observed the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at the end of September. Students and staff attended presentations and participated in meaningful activities designed to raise awareness of Indigenous history.
At Verdun Adult and Career Centre (VACC), special guest, Don Barnaby, shared his mother’s experiences, offering a profound perspective on how the legacy of past injustices can reverberate through generations. Don’s heartfelt account illuminated the lasting impact of historical trauma on families and communities, reminding attendees that the journey toward reconciliation is not confined to a single day but is a continuous endeavor.
Through dance and song, he beautifully encapsulated the essence of his heritage and invited everyone to join him in becoming unwavering advocates for reconciliation and awareness.
At PACC Adult, Ray Deer, a Mohawk elder and veteran from Kahnawake, gave students and staff an Indigenous history lesson – the story that is not told in history books. Mr. Deer has over 30 years of experience as a powwow dancer and arena director. He also drummed some of the traditional songs that Mohawks sing in the longhouse. Students and staff were invited to dance along.
Students also watched a video about a woman telling her story of being in Residential School: her doll had been taken away and she never got it back. She made dolls out of the rags she used for her chores. She had to hide her dolls. Mr. Adrian’s art class drew pictures after watching the video and made dolls.
At PACC Vocational Centre, students attended a presentation by Nakuset, the Executive Director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal/Foyer Pour Femmes and co-director of Resilience Montreal. Nakuset spoke about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The presentation was a solemn moment, acknowledging the painful truth of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.