Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad today paddled into False Creek, along with members of several B.C. First Nations and other dignitaries, as part of the All Nations Canoe Gathering.
The Canoe Gathering marks the beginning of Reconciliation Week in B.C., and coincides with the sixth national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
All cultures were invited to participate in the event and to paddle alongside traditional First Nations cedar, dugout canoes. Paddlers set out from Kits Point and paddled to Science World, where they were welcomed to the traditional territory of the Coast Salish Peoples in a traditional ceremony.
The paddling of traditional First Nations canoes is culturally significant in the same way as songs, dances, names, language and teachings. With the resurgence of canoe paddling events in B.C., participation has grown from fewer than 20 canoes in 1989, to 110 canoes attending cultural tribal journeys in recent years.
Reconciliation Week is being organized by Reconciliation Canada.
Started by Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, a Gwawaenuk Elder, Reconciliation Canada is a charitable project established by the Indian Residential School Survivor's Society (IRSSS) and Tides Canada Initiatives Society (TCI).
B.C. has proclaimed the week of Sept. 16-22 Reconciliation Week.
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad -
"It is an honour for me to be invited to paddle along with members of B.C.'s First Nations, in this all-nations event. I think it's important to focus on the joyous moments in which our cultures come together."
"This is especially significant at the beginning of Reconciliation Week, during which, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians will focus on acknowledging the tragedy of Indian Residential Schools while we work to renew our relationship based on mutual respect, and continue to heal the wounds left behind by Indian Residential Schools."
For more information about Reconciliation Week, please visit: http://reconciliationcanada.ca/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation|