Broadcast to honour survivors across Canada
- NC Raine | September 29, 2021
The country will take time September 30th, the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to reflect on its tragic history of residential schools and learn about the collective actions toward Reconciliation.
On that day, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) has developed educational and cultural programming in commemoration of the national holiday. It will be topped off with a live broadcast that evening, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a unique one-hour, commercial-free primetime special honouring the stories and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples affected by the tragedies of the residential school system in Canada.
As part of the show, local Indigenous Producer Dawn Wasacase developed programming with Wanuskewin that will be aired nationally during that broadcast.
“I dreamed up something for Wanuskewin because there is so much meaning and history there. It is a beautiful, and perfect setting, to honour Truth and Reconciliation,” said Wasacase.
For her shoot at Wanuskewin, Wasacase invited Elder and survivor Judy Pelly and her grandson Charlie Cochran to walk the Survivors' Flag through the historic valley to the high point of the park, where there will be a moment of reflection. The moment will include music from local musician Teedly Linklater and her daughters, Qualaya and Ahkayimo, who sang the Woman's Song.
“I was asked to carry that flag and it gave me so much pride. Pride in our people for standing up and wanting to be heard and doing positive things. Because you never get anywhere if you're feeling punitively and anger," said Pelly. "Love, respect, and humility is what I want people to take from this new resurgence of Orange Shirt Day. Hopefully people [observe the day] in a good way and not in anger."
The experience at Wanuskewin was particularly special for Pelly to share with her adopted grandson, Charlie, who Pelly met at one of the young mother centres where she works. She took the opportunity to instill positivity in her young grandson.
"He was so happy to be holding that flag. I told him to never be ashamed of who he is and always be proud," she said. "I'm hoping this day will open everyone's eyes to the dark history, the historical injustices that happened to our people. Lots of people still don't know. Even myself, I didn't know about colonization until I went to university. It didn't dawn on me that our country was taken from us."
Wasacase also invited champion prairie chicken dancer T.J. Warren and his family to perform dance, and Canada's Poet Laureate Louise Bernice Halfe to recite a poem on the historic grounds.
And away from the park, Wasacase filmed Métis Elder Norman Fleury at the South Saskatchewan River, as he shared a message in Michif. The production is part of a commercial-free program that will also include scenes from other Indigenous communities across the country.
“The images are both beautiful and powerful,” said Wasacase.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, created in partnership with APTN, CBC/Radio-Canada, Insight Productions and Canadian Heritage will broadcast and stream live Thursday, September 30 at 8 p.m. ET on APTN, CBC, CBC Gem, ICI TÉLÉ and ICI TOU.TV.