Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council held a candlelight vigil to honour residential school survivors and to remember those children that never made it home during the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, September 30.
The event took place at Chiefswood Park in Oshweken where community members were invited to place luminaries in the shape of a heart, paying tribute to the residential school survivors and victims. The ceremony included a very moving musical performance and continued with guest speakers, including Elected Chief Mark Hill.
“We are here to honour our survivors, we are here to honour all of our children that never made it home, but to also honour every single one of us here. We have been through so much as a people and it’s so inspiring to see the perseverance and resilience that we have as a people,” said Hill.
Hill went on to express his thoughts regarding the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“I’ve been asked how I feel and there have been a lot of mixed emotions and I am sure a lot of our community members that are here today can attest to just that,” he said. “Our survivors have endured so much. They have endured so much in their lives and to be able to have them work alongside us and continue to guide us, is so inspiring to me.”
Hill concluded his remarks with one very important message to everyone in attendance.
“We know the truth based on the survivor’s stories. They have been telling us for years and years and years,” he said. “We can’t have reconciliation if we don’t know the truth.”