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City of Campbell River shares resources on Indigenous Allyship

City to observe National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30
Kakwaka’wakw drummers lead a procession through the streets of Campbell River on the first national Truth and Reconciliation Day. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror

The City of Campbell River is inviting residents to practice allyship with Indigenous Peoples on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Saturday is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. City facilities will be closed to allow the public and staff the chance to meaningfully honour this important day. The city is encouraging people to wear orange in recognition and honour of the children, families and communities impacted by residential schools in Canada.

“The City of Campbell River recognizes and honours the individuals, families and communities affected by the residential school system and its legacy and is committed to advancing reconciliation through collaboration, knowledge sharing and relationship building,” says Rose Klukas, Director of Economic Development and Indigenous Relations. “Over the past year, the city has held council-to-council meetings with First Nations governments and facilitated opportunities for city council and staff to learn more about Indigenous history and cultures. We look forward to future opportunities to continue this important work.”

Earlier this year, Azalea Milwid, First Nations Liaison at the Strathcona Regional District, arranged for the City’s management team to view Who We Are, an educational video prepared by Maya’xala.

“The knowledge sharing from the Maya’xala videos benefits more than just the city and can be used as an educational series for both high school and college students on cultural safety,” says Lavern Henderson, who facilitated the presentation and led attendees in a guided discussion. “The more knowledge I can teach people about our culture, traditions and history and about how our ancestors and Elders guide us today – this will benefit more than just myself or the City of Campbell River. It will help future generations to come.”

Suggestions for ways to participate, listen and learn this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

• Attend the Laichwiltach Family Life Society’s eighth annual Every Child Matters Walk on September 30, beginning in Spirit Square at 11 a.m. A hosting ceremony and light lunch will follow.

• Attend one or more of the virtual Truth and Reconciliation Week 2023 Public Lunch and Learns presented by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation:

• Visit the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Indigenous Interest page to access a range of curated resources and materials:

• Practice allyship. Last year the Liǧwiłdax̌w community generously shared advice on how to practice allyship, which we are thankful to be able to share with Campbell River (ƛəmataxw) residents. Allyship is the practice of working towards social justice, inclusion, and human rights by members of a group who usually hold privilege, to advance the interests of an oppressed or marginalized group. Allyship is a lifelong process of creating relationships built on trust, safety, consistency and accountability with marginalized and oppressed groups.

Avis Ḵ’áw kuuna O’Brien, N’alaga Consulting, and Hereditary Chief, Elder James Kwa’hiladzi Quatell, generously offered suggestions for those looking to practice allyship:

- Commit to never perpetuate, or stand by in silence when you hear, racist remarks or negative stereotypes about Indigenous People.

- Show up to Indigenous-led events and initiatives.

- Educate yourself and your children on the history of Canada as a way to develop empathy.

- Wear orange on Orange Shirt Day (September 30).

- Display authentic Indigenous artwork at your business.

- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 calls to action.

- Practice kindness and empathy to the folks you see living with the impacts of colonialism.

- Be respectful of Indigenous cemeteries; these are sacred grounds.

- Help to carry the burdens that Indigenous Peoples are carrying.

Learn more about National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

City facilities will be closed to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation statutory holiday:

- The Sportsplex will be closed on Saturday, September 30, 2023, and open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, October 2, 2023.

- City Hall, the Campbell River Community Centre, the Downtown Safety Office and the Dogwood Operations Centre will be closed on Monday, October 2, 2023.

- Curbside garbage, recycling, and yard waste will continue as usual as the statutory holiday does not fall on a weekday.

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