Events Planned for Guelph’s First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30 will mark the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation across Canada, and here in Guelph. The Rotary Club of Guelph, and their Indigenous
Awareness Committee, are preparing a variety of different events and activities to help Guelphites mark this important day, from movies, to special guests speakers and even a free book if you want it. Get ready to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation all week long!

“With the recent discovery of these unmarked graves, Canadians are reconsidering their personal understanding of Canada’s history and its relationship with Turtle Island’s (North America’s) original inhabitants,” reads a Rotary Club media release. “Canadians are asking for more information and how they can help with Truth and Reconciliation. Learning the Truth is step one.”

To help take that first step, these are the events planned by the Rotary Club for next week.

Monday September 27 – Speaker’s Event

Four speakers will take part in a hybrid event live from the River Run Centre stage. There are 80 tickets available for people to attend in-person, but you will have to wear a mask and by fully vaccinated with proof to attend. Everyone else will be able to watch the speeches live on the Rotary Club’s website. The event is free, but donations to the Mohawk Village Memorial Park being established outside the former The Mohawk Residential School in Brantford will be accepted.

The speakers for this event are:

  • Ava Hill, past Elected Chief of Six Nations Elected Council will talk about Residential Schools and their continuing effect on Indigenous Peoples.
  • Phil Monture, President of Nativelands Ltd., will speak about Treaties and Land Claims, sharing his extensive experience in this sometimes controversial and misunderstood topic.
  • Roberta Hill and Dawn Hill, sisters and Residential School survivors, will share their lived experiences.

September 30 to October 3 – “Towards Truth” Film Festival

The newly re-opened Bookshelf Cinema will be running a small film festival of Truth and Reconciliation-minded films for four days over the weekend. The screenings are free, but donations will be accepted for the Anishnabeg Outreach Centre for Indigenous Healing in Kitchener and Guelph. The schedule is below:

Thursday September 30, 2021
6:00 pm – The Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts
8:30 pm – Beans

Friday October 1, 2021
4:00 pm – The World Remembers When the World Broke Open

Saturday October 2, 2021
2:00 pm – Beans

Sunday October 3, 2021
10:30am – The World Remembers When the World Broke Open
1:30pm – The Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts

Films & Descriptions:

Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts (2019) – This is a must-see film. It explains how the Doctrine, issued as a series of Papal Bulls originating in the 1400s, was used by European monarchies to provide a framework for explorers like Christopher Columbus to lay claim to lands that were vacant or occupied by non-Christians. The Doctrine claimed that Indigenous Peoples in the Americas could be considered non-human, allowing the land they lived on to be seen as “terra nullius” or uninhabited. The effects of the Doctrine are still felt today in modern-day laws and policies. This film can also be watched online here.

Beans (2020) – This Canadian drama explores the 1990 Oka crisis when two Mohawk communities entered a 78-day armed stand-off with government forces to protect a burial ground from developers. Viewers of the film experience the crisis through the eyes of a young Mohawk girl, Tekehentahkhwa, nicknamed “Beans.”

The World Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019) – This film is about a chance encounter on the street between two Indigenous women. One is pregnant and the victim of domestic abuse, and the other can “pass as white” and is trying to help her. The film confronts the problem of domestic abuse, and how it is impacted by social class, ethnicity, and trauma. It also explores the precarious difficulties faced by those who dare to intervene in cycles of abuse. It is both challenging to watch, and a poetic, powerful cinematic experience.

Anytime – Read a Book!

The Rotary Club is also giving away a book called Towards Braiding, which is being billed as a “Must Read” for anyone that’s looking for “‘different ways of knowing and being’ in order to deepen their understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion of (DEI) from an Indigenous, lived experience perspective.” The creation of the book was sponsored by the Musagetes Foundation, and the Rotary Club has 500 printed copies available for individuals and organizations that would like them. Send an email to rcog.iacomm [at] to request a copy.

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