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Three intergenerational speakers have been announced as presenters for Orange Shirt Day 2018.
The theme of the event is “Past-Present-Future” with each speaker representing a different generation and speaking on their personal experiences of the impacts of residential schools and the meaning of healing and reconciliation.
Representing the “Past” is Hazel Robinson. Hazel Robinson is First Nation Dene Tha from Northern Alberta. She is a residential school survivor and has a personal understanding of the intergenerational impacts of being a survivor. A traditional Indigenous artist, she shares her gift by teaching youth at schools across Grande Prairie, at the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre and by selling traditional crafts at her small business in the Grande Prairie Farmers’ Market. Hazel has been involved in the Spirit Seekers Youth Conference for many years as a volunteer and presenter, further demonstrating her commitment to teaching and knowledge sharing with future generations.
For the “Present”, Len Morissette is speaking. Morrisette is a passionate award-winning Indigenous entrepreneur in Grande Prairie, a Grande Prairie Friendship Centre board member and chair of the Indigenous Committee for the Swan City Rotary Club. He has created many program opportunities for Indigenous youth to learn about culture through media arts and continues to empower others as a mentor and community leader.
Looking towards the “Future,” Bridgette Benning is closing the program. A recent Masters of Sociology graduate from the University of Victoria, Benning focused her thesis on the Grande Prairie Regional College On-Campus Friendship Centre, exploring the role of Indigenous-based supports in post-secondary education. She has grown up in Grande Prairie immersed in her Metis heritage and is a great person to speak on education from the youth perspective.
Many other educational and engaging activities for all ages are being featured at the event, including student displays from the local school districts; a historical trivia game for families with prizes to be won; a booth from the Grande Prairie Public Library with Indigenous authors and free library memberships; and a community barbeque.
The event takes place from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 30 at Centre 2000. Everyone is welcome to attend and admission is free.
Orange Shirt Day takes place to continue the dialogue on the effects of the residential school system and moving forward as a community. It was first introduced in Grande Prairie in 2016, inspired by Phyllis Webstad’s story.
Full event details are available online.
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