BARRHEAD – The organizers of a National Indigenous People’s Day ceremony in Barrhead earlier this summer are also planning a march through the downtown to coincide with Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this Friday, Sept. 30.
Robin Berard, a Barrhead resident who is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation near Wabasca, will lead the march along Main Street to “remember those who did not survive the residential school systems and honour those who did,” according to Scott Robins, who helped organize the National Indigenous People’s Day event on June 21 along with Berard.
Members of the community will gather at the Barrhead town office at 1 p.m. and should reach the downtown gazebo by about 2:30 p.m. Those who wish to take part are asked to wear an orange shirt and “remember we are all treaty people,” Robins said.
"We have a lot of work to do regarding truth and reconciliation and moving forward as treaty people. A lot of times people don't realize that we are all treaty people, and we all have rights and responsibilities, especially in understanding the horrible experiences that our First Nations' families and community members have gone through over the years,” Robins said.
He added that Berard and her husband Nels Paul will also be leading Barrhead students in a lesson about Indigenous history and teachings throughout the day on Sept. 29 at Barrhead Composite High School.
Robins said Berard is still finalizing the details of her teepee teaching at the school, but the local RCMP detachment has donated the use of their teepee and her presentation would include information on the proper setup of the structure, its pieces, and its importance as part of Indigenous people's culture.