Over 5,000 people attended a traditional powwow at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sept. 30. hosted by the Siksika Nation and the Calgary Hitmen marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.( John Watson Photo)
By John Watson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Siksika Nation hosted an Every Child Matters powwow at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Sept. 30 to celebrate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The event was held in partnership with the Calgary Hitmen, as well as a host of partners and sponsors.
Consisting of two feature dances and a greeting from Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad, the event attracted over 5,000 people from the local region in attendance.
Chief Ouray Crowfoot of Siksika Nation said the event was put together to be about healing and progress.
“It’s not just about Siksika or the First Nations around. You look around in the audience and there are a lot of non-natives in attendance,” said Crowfoot. “I think the more and more of these events that you have in the community and you invite the community and you have interactions with the community, native and non-native alike, you’re going to create that understanding.”
The Every Child Matters name is part of a movement founded by Webstad as a recognition and a commitment to action.
The goal is to ensure all children know their importance and to honour those who attended residential schools in Canada and to honour their families and their communities.
Crowfoot added among the goals of the event is to build bridges and establish relationships with organizations and potential partners.
“One of the themes that we are seeing is moving forward. That is part of the healing process as well, all the trauma that has happened in the past you have got to grieve from that and then also start saying `how do we move forward?’,” said Crowfoot. “I think it is events like this that propel that moving forward.”
According to Crowfoot, there is intent to host similar events to grow awareness, education, partnerships and branding.
He said it was made clear, based on attendance at the pow wow being over five times what was anticipated, that there is demand for more.
“What is Siksika? Who are we as a people and having that cross-cultural relationship ? It’s amazing to me how many people know so little about residential schools,” Crowfoot added. “It is a reflection on residential schools, but it is also about healing and moving forward. As a community, as we heal together and move forward, we will be a stronger community, a stronger Calgary and a stronger Alberta.”
Crowfoot specified that an event of this scale is intended to be more than simply a one-off occurrence, and reconciliation is something that needs to be actively considered more than simply on one day of the year.
John Watson is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter who works for
STRATHMORE TIMES. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.