Calgary community hosting weekend-long reconciliation event

The Calgary community of Lake Bonavista is hoping its residents will come together to learn more about Indigenous relations and their part in reconciliation this weekend.

Renee Price got the idea after witnessing some incidents of racism in her neighbourhood.

Read more: ‘Remember the children’: Planning underway for residential school memorial in Calgary

It started out as just being an event held on her street but quickly grew to include the whole community.

“I think really everyone wants to have those positive relationships with the Indigenous community. But what we’re hearing from non-Indigenous people is, ‘We don’t really know how — we don’t know how to plug in,’” Price said.

“‘We don’t know how to support or where to support.’”

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Organizers have invited elders and members from Tsuut’ina and other Treaty Seven First Nations to be a part of the weekend’s events, which will include a pipe ceremony, powwows, dancing, sports and storytelling.

“I think it’s a great step for the community… We want to get to know our neighbours,” said Tsuut’ina elder Frank Little Light.

Tipis will be set up in the community soccer fields, which people can explore, and it’s hoped residents and those visiting will connect through that and sports events like kickball, dodgeball and other games.

Read more: Renewed interest in residential schools difficult for survivors at Calgary Stampede Elbow River camp

There will also be a memory walk on Sunday to honour the children whose remains have been found at the sites of former residential schools across the country.

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“I think it’s a great step for us to start conversations,” Price said.

“We have lots of events happening, but the idea here this weekend is to build relationships, to spend time getting to know each other, to create friends that weren’t previously friends.

“That’s the grassroots approach: relationship building and creating that alliance between our communities… When you have understanding, that racism ceases to exist.”

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Calls for Calgary city hall memorial for residential school victims to remain until permanent tribute is established

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