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Re-igniting the fire: Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation

For immediate release: June 21, 2019 - 10:00am
ST19-395

Encouraging individuals, businesses, and communities to keep the fire burning to spark change in our lives and city, the theme for the fourth annual Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation is Re-igniting the Fire.

“The Rock Your Roots Walk is an incredible example of coming together with the common cause of creating a better future for the generations yet to come,” said Mayor Charlie Clark. “The theme this year of Re-igniting the Fire is a reminder that we all have a role to play in this journey. As we seek the best for our community, we have to look inwards for answers and for action. We have so much potential in all of us, in our city, to help lead the way in living in right relationship and seeing strength in one another.”

The Walk honours survivors and answers the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

"The Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation, honours residential school survivors, 60's scoop survivors, day school survivors and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls,” says Shirley Isbister, President, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. “The walk is a day to promote diversity as we all walk together to support reconciliation in our community. We all need to re-ignite the fire of answering the calls to action."

Along the walk route, participants experienced live music, dance and entertainment - from traditional Indigenous performances to the Filipino Heritage School to Dance Egypt. The Walk joins with National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations hosted by the Saskatoon Indian and Métis Friendship Centre. Celebrations include free lunch, special guest speakers, live entertainment and fun for the whole family.

“I am very proud to be part of Rock Your Roots Walk in the spirit of Reconciliation,” says Mark Arcand, Tribal Chief, Saskatoon Tribal Council. “As we are all Treaty people we need to continue working together to promote partnerships and relationships so we can all have a quality of life.”

The “Rock Your Roots” Walk for Reconciliation is one of a number of events organized by Reconciliation Saskatoon, an initiative of 98 organizations, non-profits, businesses and partners who have come together towards one mission: to initiate a citywide conversation about reconciliation and provide opportunities for everyone to engage in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

“The significance of the Walk goes back to the days we were children -- when on Sundays we were allowed to go for a walk,” says a residential school survivor who wishes to remain anonymous. “This was the only time we got to mingle with the girls and a short time that we were able to see our sisters, cousins, and brothers. We could go on this one mile walk as long as we were finished all our duties or if we weren’t in trouble.

When the TRC came together, we thought of ‘how can we start this journey?’ That is with a Survivors Walk -- a walk with our family -- a walk to remember all the children who are now gone, who are missing, who are still here: a Walk for Reconciliation.”

Since 2016, the Walk for Reconciliation has grown, drawing almost 5,000 people to Victoria Park to recognize the sacrifices and resilience of Residential School and Day School Survivors, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and 60s Scoop Survivors. The event is made possible through the generosity of community investors, including the Saskatoon Community Foundation and Nutrien.

For more information, visit facebook.com/ReconciliationSaskatoon or www.otc.ca

The City of Saskatoon’s commitment to the TRC’s Calls to Action supports the City’s Corporate Strategic Goal of Quality of Life by identifying actions for enhancing well-being and participation of Indigenous peoples in our community.