WESTLOCK — Westlock and area residents are invited to come together and take part in the town’s second annual gathering with the Kipohtakaw (Alexander) First Nation in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The gathering takes place at the Westlock and District Community Hall on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and is free to attend with no pre-registration required. The town is welcoming Kipohtakaw (Alexander) First Nation who also co-hosted last year’s inaugural gathering, with those in attendance sharing a traditional meal and celebrating First Nation music and dance with traditional performances. The evening will also feature a guest speaker.
“People can expect a very similar event to what we held last year,” said CAO Simone Wiley. “A traditional Indigenous meal will be served and there’s also dancers in attendance and an elder from Alexander First Nation will be speaking.”
To better accommodate the anticipated larger crowds this year, the town made some minor changes to the event including time and location, noted Wiley.
“We pushed (the event) back a little bit later and booked a bigger venue in hopes that more people would be able to attend.”
Last year’s event saw more than 150 people attend from across the region, including residents and local politicians from Westlock County and the Village of Clyde. Many who came out to the event, provided positive feedback.
“In general, they were happy that the town was doing something to facilitate a higher level of understanding among people,” said Wiley. “This is the town’s way of being able to facilitate that higher level of learning and understanding.”
Wiley also pointed out the federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action.
“This is the municipality’s way of being able to participate in action — it’s not just speaking and sharing but it’s also about taking action,” said Wiley. “And this is one of the ways that we can take action to educate our residents.”
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which is also observed as Orange Shirt Day, is set for Sept. 30.