The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day for solemn remembrance and reflection to recognize the legacy of the Canadian Indian residential school system.
The Town of Okotoks will be holding a ceremony in collaboration with local Indigenous elders and groups to bring the community together to learn, listen, and heal.
Starting at 10 a.m. there will be plenty to take part in but space is limited says Desmond Jackson, Indigenous Adviser to the Town of Okotoks.
"The ceremony will be held inside the tepee and it's kind of a first come first serve. So once the tepee is full, unfortunately, there's only so much space, but everybody is welcome to stay and get fed after and partake in the round dance."
The event will take place at Okotoks Art Gallery in Piistoo Park located at 53 North Railway Street. There will be a round dance after the ceremony along with traditional berry soup and bannock. He encourages residents to bring their whole family and to wear an orange shirt as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coincides with Orange Shirt Day.
"We really want everybody to come and be involved in and take part and to learn. This is not just for indigenous people at all, this is for everybody, especially all the wonderful residents that we have here in the town of Okotoks."
Next door to the ceremonies is the Okotoks Museum and archives which will feature the documentary Little Moccasins and the St. Joseph’s (Dunbow) Residential School exhibit on the second floor.
Jackson adds, for those wanting to learn more, there are plenty of locations, museums and landmarks in Southern Alberta.
"There is lots here in Treaty 7 within this Confederacy. This is also home to the Métis Region 3. They’re located in Calgary and there's lots of information that can be learned from Tsuut'ina.
"You have the museum, and we also have the big rock here just outside this town limits. In Piikani, on my reserve, we have the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump which is just north of our reserve off Hwy 2 and Tsuut'ina Blackfoot Crossing where the treaty was signed in 1877 on September 22nd.
"These are all significant historic landmarks where you can learn a lot about the first peoples of this land."
To commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and to honour the survivors, their families and communities, the Okotoks Municipal Centre will be illuminated in orange on September 30 until sunrise the next morning.
Town administrative offices will be closed on September 30 including the Municipal Centre, Operations Centre, Family Resource Centre, and the Eco Centre. Waste collection services will operate as scheduled.
The Okotoks Museum & Archives, Okotoks Art Gallery, Okotoks Recreation Centre and the Centennial Arenas will be open to the public.