As part of its online Canada Day concert, the Conseil des arts Prescott-Russell Arts Council (CAPRAC) will be showing respect for Indigenous people and acknowledging the discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
Before performers from across Prescott and Russell are featured on Thursday’s program, a poetry reading will take place, presented by Eric Charlebois, who is the president of CAPRAC. The poetry reading is a collaboration of two poets, one of whom is a local First Nations poem while the other is a local poet of colonial background.
CAPRAC, as event organizer, will acknowledge that the event is being held on unceded territory.
According to CAPRAC, the organization had already consulted with Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit leaders to better understand how the issue of Canada Day in the context of the discoveries of the graves and the legacy of the residential schools could be addressed with respect.
CAPRAC believes the texts being used by both poets begins as an acknowledgement but becomes an oath recognizing what has been done, but more importantly recognizes what needs to be done to ensure truth, action, and growth in the community.
All municipalities in Prescott and Russell counties, the regional government, and the federal government have contributed to the online show. The bilingual webcast begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 1 on Facebook Live at Canada PR 2021. It will feature 19 performers from across Prescott and Russell counties.