The Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre called its Day of Truth and Reconciliation event ‘Truth, Then Reconciliation’ because the focus was on listening to the stories of survivors and shedding light on the truth about the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada.
The event was not about an apology, said MC Devin Bellerose, from the Friendship Centre.
Bellerose is also a member of Driftpile Cree Nation.
The walk started at the RCMP detachment.
In the past, the RCMP were heavily involved in taking children away from their families and forcing them to go to Indian residential schools, said Bellerose. However, that has changed.
Since the discovery of the Kamloops 215 (children found at unmarked graves at a former Indian residential school) earlier this year, elders have started to tell their stories, Bellerose said.
Two of these elders – Florence Gladue and Theresa Campiou – told their stories at the event. (A video of their stories will be on lakesideleader.com soon).
The Lesser Slave Lake and Wabasca area had six residential schools.