TORONTO — The Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Legacy Celebration which was the first of its kind finalized last Thursday after three days of celebrating indigenous legacies of resiliency and healing.
Placed outside of Toronto City Hall, the gathering honoured residential school survivors and their families, and offered educational programming for visitors.
“We are pleased and proud to be able to host and help produce this important event at Nathan Phillips Square,” said the Mayor of Toronto. “It is essential that reconciliation moves from discussion into action and this celebration provides a forum for that evolution to occur.”
The event began with a sunrise ceremony before a grand entry around the square.
While using more than 20 painted teepees anointed around the square to house educational programming and drop-in workshops throughout the day, visiting Torontonians and all others were able to be exposed to a variety of topics surrounding indigenous resiliency and vitality. The event was also considered to be incredibly timely.
“This gathering is significant as it is scheduled around the new lunar moon cycle, which represents a positive energy force in addition to our harvest cycle, a time to acknowledge and give thanks for all that we are provided and a part of,” said Andrea Chrisjohn, Board Designate (ohkwali clan, On^yota’a:ka), Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. “And, to celebrate the resiliency, change and growth of our people.”
Produced by the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre in collaboration with the City of Toronto, this free gathering featured indigenous songs, stories, language, food, performances, installations and demonstrations for all ages.
The event also included the unveiling of a model of the commemorative sculpture to be placed at the heart of the square, which was created in commemoration and in repose to the truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 82, which called for monuments within each capital city to honour all of those impacted by residential schools.