Truth & Reconciliation

Central Alberta is a significant historical landscape of the ancestral territories of the Cree, Blackfoot and Métis people. It was a place to meet in peace and trade, hold ceremonies and co-exist. It was an area that marked the crossing of the province from North to South, as well as a place for traders to venture into the mountains in the West, with East of Red Deer marking the largest Métis Settlement West of Red River.
City-Hall-Park-flags-photo credit: rdnewsNOW staff

photo credit: rdnewsNOW staff

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was established in 2008. Truth and Reconciliation is a process of healing relationships, sharing truths, listening to the knowledge that is being shared, and doing our part to redress past harms. It is taking the time to build and maintain mutually respectful relationships. Truth and Reconciliation is about learning the history and legacy of residential schools, and the many contributions Aboriginal peoples have made, and continue to make to Canadian society.  Indigenous children in Canada were removed from their families for over 100 years and sent to institutions known as residential schools. The Red Deer Industrial School operated from 1893–1919, it was located 5 kilometres west of Red Deer.

Red Deer’s Reconciliation Journey

The City of Red Deer honours the culture, heritage, and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people that have been a part of this landscape long before colonial settlement occurred. We stand with the Indigenous community in remembering the past, and look forward to affirming our relationship and partnership in actioning our local commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.

We recognize with humility that the process of Truth and Reconciliation is one that takes time. We will learn from our mistakes and pursue a mutually respectful relationship. Acknowledging the land on which we live and the truth about the history is an important beginning to this relationship.

Do you have questions about Truth and Reconciliation?

A large part of Truth and Reconciliation is a commitment to respectful learning. Learning is a journey, it doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes it’s hard to find a place to start. The following resources are provided for those seeking to learn more about Canada’s Indigenous history and our journey toward reconciliation.

Kitchen table conversations with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers

The City of Red Deer is located in an area with a rich history as a cultural meeting place. In an effort to celebrate this multicultural history and to provide an opportunity for Truth and Reconciliation, The City of Red Deer is sharing a series of conversations between local Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Deirdre Ashenhurst, a Community Facilitator with Community Development.

Remembering the Children Day
June 11

June 11, 2022, is officially proclaimed Remembering the Children Day. For more than a century, residential schools separated aboriginal children from their families and communities. Thousands of those children never returned home, and these actions have contributed to a legacy of trauma for First Nations, Métis, Inuit and non-indigenous people that requires healing, reconciliation and restoration. Today, and every day, we must remember the children. Proclamation from Mayor Johnston recognizing that June 11 shall be known as

Remembering the Children Day Proclamation (pdf)

National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 21

National Indigenous Peoples Day takes place on the summer solstice, June 21. It’s a special occasion to learn more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Learning about Indigenous Peoples, places and experiences is a step forward each Canadian can take on the path to reconciliation.

National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
September 30

September 30 is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. It is a day that we take time to learn, reflect and acknowledge our history of Residential Schools and the impact it has had on the survivors, families and communities. For more than 100 years, Indigenous children were taken from their homes and sent to Residential Schools; so many never made it back home. Today, we are turning our pages orange and encouraging our community to find ways to observe this day, whether it be through reflection, education or participation in an activity or event.

Ideas to recognize Truth and Reconciliation Day (pdf)

Orange Shirt Day
September 30

Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family, and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

On September 30, all Canadians are encouraged to wear orange to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools.

Where to get an orange shirt:

RD Native Friendship Society

Shining Mountains Living Community Services

Orange Ribbon Campaign

The Orange Ribbon Campaign held in September is intended to engage Red Deer in community reconciliation efforts. Orange ribbons are a symbolic gesture to express solidarity with our Indigenous community and act as an expression of grief for Canada and Red Deer’s residential school history.

Orange ribbons are blessed by a Knowledge Keeper and residents are encouraged to tie the ribbons to trees or plants in a place that is meaningful to them.

Learn more and pick up your orange ribbon.