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