6 ways to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day this weekend | Cultural Festivals | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Former Halifax Poet Laureate Rebecca Thomas will debut a new poem at Afterwords Literary Festival on Thursday.

6 ways to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day this weekend

The new holiday happens Thursday, September 30—and here’s how Halifax will be spending it.

The first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation happens this Thursday, September 30. Converting the day known as Orange Shirt Day into a federally recognized holiday was one of the recommendations put forth in 2015’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations. The federal holiday aims to imbue reflection on the legacy of residential schools and honour Indigenous survivors, as part of the ongoing reconciliation process, and Nova Scotia is among the provinces that is also observing the holiday. Here, we’re sharing a handful of ways you can mark the day in Kjipuktuk.

Orange Shirt Day at the Saltyard
The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre will be hosting free events on the waterfront all weekend long to mark the inaugural Truth and Reconciliation Day, and this event kicks it all off on Thursday. Held from 10am-3pm at the Saltyard Stage (1601 Lower Water Street), the happenings include an opening prayer and song, a history of Orange Shirt Day and a painting craft.

Sky Dancers
Live Art Dance’s first show since COVID's arrival was worth the wait and then some: A’nó:wara Dance Theatre brings its performance Sky Dancers to Live Art, a show tracing the aftermath of the failed construction of a bridge between the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence River. “The planned bridge was to be the largest cantilever bridge and would have the longest span of any bridge in the world at that time. In late summer 1907, as construction was progressing, the bridge collapsed killing 33 high steel workers from the small Mohawk community of Kahnawake,” show creators explain. “Unfortunately for the Mohawks of Kahnawake, the bridge collapsing was only the beginning of the disaster. After the event, the Quebec government and Roman Catholic Church conspired together and descended on Kahnawake and coerced many of the recently widowed women into giving up their children to residential schools. The effects of which remain present to this day.” Choreographed by Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo—who calls Kahnawake home—the piece aims to explore not only the impacts of the historic disaster, but themes of family, community and resilience. See the show in-person (with proof of vaccination required to enter) Sep 30 at 8pm at Spatz Theatre (1855 Trollope Street). Tickets range from $15-$30 and are available through Live Art’s website.

click to enlarge 6 ways to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day this weekend
Sky Dancers by A’nó:wara Dance Theatre

Afterwords Festival’s Truth and Reconciliation Day: Katherena Vermette in conversation with Janet Rogers
The beloved-by-bookworms literary festival Afterwords marks the first Truth and Reconciliation Day with two back-to-back happenings, available through the same livestream link: First, the festival will debut a poem it commissioned by former Halifax Poet Laureate Rebecca Thomas. Then, author Katherena Vermette (whose name you may know for the bestselling, Governor General Literary Award-winning book The Break) is in conversation with poet Janet Rogers. Hopefully, Vermette will dish about her new, follow-up novel The Strangers, which explores the binds a separated family clings to over an intergenerational saga, during the livestreamed discussion. Thu Sep 30, 7-8:15pm, free, afterwordsliteraryfestival.com for registration link.

Treaty Day at the Saltyard
The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre’s second day of free programming at the Saltyard Stage (1601 Lower Water Street) takes place from 10am-3pm on Friday, Oct 1. Events include a traditional salmon dinner, a history of treaties in Mi’kma’ki and TBD live entertainment.

Mi’kmaq Stories: Past & Present
Billed as an event that “weaves stories from the past with glimpses into current realities and dreams for the future,” this livestreamed performance features an all-Mi'kmaq cast, a script written by three Mi'kmaq artists and the artwork of Masterworks Award-winning Mi'kmaq artist Jordan Bennett. Presented by Halifax Theatre For Young People, the show broadcasts from Parrsboro’s Ship's Company Theatre on Saturday, Oct 2 at 2pm. Tickets and details are available at halifaxtheatreforyoungpeople.com.

Family Day at the Saltyard
The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre’s final day of free programming at the Saltyard Stage (1601 Lower Water Street) sees a TBD slate of Indigenous performers taking the stage, followed by pow wow dance demonstrations Sat Oct 3 from noon to 3pm.

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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