A day of resilience: Maritime Indigenous communities honour history differently this Canada Day
FREDERICTON -- Indigenous communities across the Maritimes will be honouring history in a different way this Canada Day.
With the recent discoveries of hundreds of unmarked gravesites at former residential schools across Canada, many First Nations and Indigenous Peoples will observe a day of grieving or cultural celebration.
The town of Oromocto, N.B. cancelled its Canada Day plans and planted 215 orange flowers in solidarity with the Oromocto First Nation.
The chief, elders and members of the community attended the planting on Wednesday in the pouring rain.
"Every time I see it, it's going to give me a feeling of reflection, a feeling of grief, a lot of our family members, our community members are grieving, they're being revisited with their horrific memories," said Shelley Sabattis, chief of Oromocto First Nation.
In Fredericton, the St. Mary's First Nation will be holding Resilience Day on Thursday, beginning with a sunrise ceremony at 5:30 a.m. The community is also holding a healing walk at noon and a ceremony at 1 p.m.
"Ww want to come to understand, want to come to reflect and want to be able to come and walk with us to heal," said Allan Polchies, chief of St. Mary's First Nation.
In Nova Scotia, the Sipekne'katik First Nation in Shubenacadie will be holding a special tribute in recognition of residential school survivors and victims.
"Nobody is trying to force anything on anyone. It's just our people went through some hard times and we're trying to bounce back from that," said Mike Sack, chief of Sipekne'katik First Nation.
In a statement from New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, he asks New Brunsickers to reflect on their history on July 1, adding residents can be both a proud Canadian, while recognizing injustices that have taken place.