Slideshow: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Ottawa

Parliament Hill hosts Orange Shirt Day commemoration

Inuksuk Drum Dancers, a group of high school students from Iqaluit, provided a closing performance at the LeBreton Flats ceremony Friday in Ottawa. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Downtown Ottawa was a sea of orange shirts on Friday as people commemorated the country’s second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day started with a gathering on Parliament Hill with speeches, singing, drumming and dancing, followed by a march to nearby LeBreton Flats.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and former Truth and Reconciliation Commission chairperson Murray Sinclair delivered remarks. The large crowd was also treated to performances from several Indigenous artists, including Beatrice Deer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the afternoon’s events after spending the morning in Ontario’s Niagara region. Last year, he was criticized for going on a surfing trip in British Columbia on Sept. 30 instead of spending the day with Indigenous people.

One of the last acts to perform was the Inuksuk Drum Dancers – all high school students from Iqaluit.

“Coming here and performing, knowing my family went through residential school and forced relocation and stuff like that, I feel like, as someone young, there’s connections coming to a better future,” said Minnie Akeeagok, a Grade 12 Inuksuk High School student and performer in the group.

  • A large crowd gathers on Parliament Hill early in the morning on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Sept. 30. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)


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