Each year now on September 30th, for the last five years, led by the Immanuel Reconciliation Team and in partnership with the Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum, there has been a walk for Orange Shirt Day in Wetaskiwin.This walk is to remember the children who went to Indian Residential Schools and those who did not return. This year, on a sunny fall day, about 80 of us gathered with masks on and keeping to our own bubbles walked from the museum to the Peace Cairn.
The Peace Cairn is a monument to the peace treaty between the Nehiwayak and the Siksika nations in 1867 and was erected in 1927 as a way of recognizing that. The name of Wetaskiwin is a Cree word meaning the hills where peace is made and is in honour of that peace treaty. It is the place that the community gathers together to remember our history as First Nations, settlers and newcomers. We remember both the good and the hard history.
The walk took us about 20 minutes and there was conversation between children and adults and there were many of us in our ribbon skirts and there were orange shirts for block after block. There were about 80 to 90 people who walked together. When we arrived at the Peace Cairn, Karen Aberle, the Executive Director of the Wetaskwin & District Heritage Museum, shared about being with residential school survivors earlier that day and that we need to hear these stories so that we won't forget what happened in our country. The event closed out with a prayer led by the Rev. Hugh Matheson, rector of Immanuel, Wetaskiwin to thank Creator for our coming together and remembering together as a community.
The Reconciliation Team of Immanuel is grateful to all in the community who joined members of the parish and the museum in this act of remembrance for the children who went to Residential Schools and for those who did not return.