Drum songs were performed shortly after banners were dropped by members of the Westbank First Nation Youth Council at the Westside Road interchange above Highway 97 in West Kelowna on July 1. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

Truth and Reconciliation Day events in Kelowna, West Kelowna

Sept. 30 marks the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day

Sept. 30, marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, formerly called Orange Shirt Day, a day designed to honour and remember those who have been affected by the residential school system.

Orange Shirt Day was first started by Phyllis Webstad in 2013. Webstad attended St. Joseph’s Mission, a residential school in Williams Lake at six years old.

She was wearing an orange shirt when she arrived at the school, which was then taken away by school officials.

“I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me,” she wrote on the Orange Shirt Day website.

In the Central Okanagan, there will be some ceremonies on the day of, including one hosted by Westbank First Nation will be hosting a drumming circle, scheduled at 2:15 p.m. at the Elders Hall. Both ceremonies are open to the community, but WFN’s ceremony will be capped at 50 people.

The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society is set to have an event on Sept. 29 at 3 p.m. outside of their Leon Avenue building.

Learning about the effects of the residential school system and what Indigenous peoples have endured isn’t just a one-day affair, however.

The Okanagan Heritage Museum is hosting Truth and Reconciliation Week, where families can drop by the museum to learn about what Indigenous children experienced during their time in residential schools, and the cultural items, homes, and lives they left behind.

On Sept. 30, both the Kelowna and West Kelowna city offices will be closed for the day. For more information on other facilities’ holiday hours in Kelowna, visit the city’s website. To see holiday hours for West Kelowna facilities, visit the city’s website.

IndigenousTruth and Reconciliation Commission