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Stoney Nakoda First Nation marks 2nd National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Alberta held a small and emotional ceremony Wednesday, ahead of the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

A pipe ceremony, followed by drumming and a jingle dress dance, took place at the Wesley Elders Lodge.

Jeanette Wildman, cultural liaison for Stoney Health Services, was among the group, she shared her experience being a survivor of Morley Indian Residential school — she entered at age four.

Wildman said the time for people to feel shocked by stories like hers is ending.

“There has been enough out there to educate society as a whole, especially across Canada,” she said. 

Attendees at a ceremony on Stoney Nakoda First Nation Wednesday. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Wildman said she no longer fears talking about what happened at the residential schools, and the more she tells her story the easier it becomes. 

“I looked at my fellow residential school survivors and I could see that they were still in pain. It gets easier a little bit, but not a whole lot. But now I am not ashamed,” she said. 

Amanda Goodstoney, who works as a family support worker with the Stoney Family Resource Network, didn’t attend residential school, but many in her family did, including her mother. 

She says it resulted in a tough childhood, but forgiving her mom and hugging her own children is breaking a cycle of intergenerational trauma.

“They know what love is. To feel that hug and to be told I love you, I care about you and you know I’m going to be here for you the pain of the past will not carry on in their lives,” she said. 

“I’m giving and receiving at the same time.” 

She said on the second year of Truth and Reconciliation Day, she’s glad conversations are finally starting to happen. 

“Canada is really starting to speak the truth about what happened to Indigenous people.” 

Sept. 30 is being honoured as Orange Shirt Day in the City of Calgary, and the Indigenous Relations Office is marking the day by hosting a public ceremony, including a moment of silence at Fort Calgary.

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools or by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for survivors and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

Mental health counselling and crisis support is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.

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