From left to right: Bill Montgomery, , , holding the bentwood box and . The bentwood box given is symbolic of the first bentwood box, carried by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as it travelled, collecting stories from residential school survivors. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)

A special gathering of truth, reconciliation, reflection and renewal

On the evening of May 9, 2018, the third edition of the Truth and Reconciliation Gathering was held at Maxville’s Metcalfe Centre, hosted by the Upper Canada District School Board and its students.

Over 70 people came to Maxville’s Metcalfe Centre, in the spirit of reflection and renewal, to listen to words from indigenous elders and knowledge-keepers and partake in a feast. The evening was hosted by the Upper Canada District School Board (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)















The Centre was decorated with artful and informative presentations crafted by some of the students from Longue Sault, North Stormont and Roxmore public schools.

The ceremony is only one aspect of these gatherings. During the days surrounding the event, students gather useful knowledge, knowledge that is then shared through beautifully crafted and informative presentations. Many of these presentations decorated the Metcalfe Centre. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)















After dignitaries shared words of wisdom, a special bentwood box was presented to representatives of schools hosting the gathering and the days of learning that will follow.

Back when it was travelling and listening to stories from survivors of residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission carried a special bentwood box, a type of time capsule. Items associated with memories were placed in the box and the one given at the Maxville ceremony represented that powerful symbol.

“This evening, we’d like to put a song through, to honour all human kind, all people, all families, clans and nations.” Words by David Jock, before the blessing that marked the beginning of the ceremony. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)














“We’ve been having celebrations like this for quite some time,” said Bill Montgomery, one of the dignitaries present.

“In the last three years, acceptance and empathy for the history of our country is broadening. Having these feasts; having families come out and attend creates exceptional awareness.”

“Food is the highest sacredness we have from mother earth.” Wise words from David Jock, before all present got to enjoy a wonderful feast. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)














Montgomery stated that the nature of the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people wasn’t common knowledge for some time.

“A comment we hear often from kids is: ‘I don’t understand why this happened…’. Children will be our advocates. Now, this knowledge is available to our students. They have the power and will be able to decide what to do with it.”

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