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Indigenous and Métis flags raised at Red Deer Polytechnic

Truth and Reconciliation Week brought various activities, events
Indigenous drummers participated in a Truth and Reconciliation ceremony and flag-raising at Red Deer Polytechnic Thursday. (Contributed photo).

Red Deer Polytechnic raised Indigenous flags on Thursday during a commemorative ceremony for Truth and Reconciliation Week

Treaty 6 and 7 flags and Métis flags were raised on the RDP main campus to signal the polytechnic’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions.

“The Indigenous Flag Raising Ceremony was an opportunity for the community to gather together… and continue to progress to a place of respect and understanding,”said Lloyd Desjarlais, director of Indigenous Initiatives.

National Truth and Reconciliation Week was proclaimed from Sept. 26-30 to memorialize children lost to residential schools and to honour survivors and their families. Red Deer Polytechnic has offered a variety of learning, reflective and engagement opportunities during this time.

Desjarlais said students, employees and community members could design a feather, used in a residential school timeline display with the intention of continuing to foster meaningful relationships with Indigenous people. RDP also streamed CBC’s Kuper Island podcast, about the experiences of four residential school students, and held a screening of First Contact, a reality show about six Canadians exploring Indigenous Canada.

Red Deer Polytechnic’s faculty and staff could also collaborate with an Indigenous learning designer in the Centre for Teaching and Learning during a tea-and-conversation session.

Red Deer Polytechnic is committed to Indigenous education and in acknowledging the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, says Stuart Cullum, president of Red Deer Polytechnic. “We value our collaborations with Indigenous communities and look forward to continuing to grow those connections.”

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 honours First Nations, Inuit, Métis survivors, their families and communities, commemorating the painful history of residential schools as an integral component of the reconciliation process. Red Deer Polytechnic will be closed Friday, encouraging staff and students to reflect on the past and how they can contribute to an inclusive campus, and help foster reconciliation.