Hundreds gathered at Holland Park on Old Yale Road Friday (Sept. 30) for the second annual gathering on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
This day aims to provide Canadians with the opportunity to recognize and observe the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools.
Kevin Kelly, from Kwantlen First Nation in Fort Langley, said, “We have to respect the ones that never made it home, but also those that are here.” Kelly’s wife, Marilyn Gabriel, is a hereditary chief.
Kelly and his son, Michael Kelly-Gabriel, gave the official welcome for the event.
Kelly-Gabriel said they do not like to use the word survivors when referring to those who made it out of residential schools.
“It is a triggering word. We want to honour warriors and call them warriors ‘cause they fought to keep our culture alive.”
The event featured drumming, story sharing, tea bannock, and a time to gather and reflects as a community to honour survivors and children who did not make it home.
Drummers from SFU, Surrey and Kwantlen First Nation started the event with a drum-in. Walking from SFU’s Surrey campus to Holland Park.
The event was hosted by the Surrey Urban Indigenous leadership committee. The committee is a coalition of organizations that have come together to advocate for the more than 16,000 Indigenous people living in Surrey. The coalition is devoted to making Surrey a fantastic place to raise an Indigenous family.
-With files from Tom Zillich