The City of Red Deer is launching its Orange Ribbon Campaign to engage the community in the Truth and Reconciliation journey.
Community members are invited to pick up orange ribbons and tie them to a plant or tree in a place that holds significant meaning for them, as a gesture of solidarity with the local Indigenous community and an expression of grief for Canada and Red Deer’s residential school history.
“We know that many Red Deerians are looking for ways to express their grief and anger following the recent discovery of unmarked graves at Indigenous Residential Schools,” said Kristin Walsh, City of Red Deer Safe and Healthy Communities manager.
“We are partnering with local Indigenous elders in launching an Orange Ribbon Campaign to offer people a way to express their grief and solidarity with the Indigenous community.”
The campaign was developed with consideration for Indigenous traditions, as the colour orange is recognized as a symbol of the loss of childhood innocence and disconnection from family in Indigenous experiences. It is also common practice in Indigenous cultures to tie ribbons to tree trunks as a memorial marker.
“The ribbons are 100 per cent cotton, as was stressed by elders, to ensure they are biodegradable and will not harm tree growth,” said Walsh.
Orange ribbons can be picked up, free of charge, from the following locations:
- Collicutt Centre: 3031 30 Ave.
- H. Dawe Community Centre: 56 Holt St.
- Recreation Centre: 4501 47A Ave.
- City Hall: 4914 48 Ave.
- Intermediate School: 5205 48 Ave.
- Red Deer Native Friendship Centre: 4808 51 Ave.
- Shining Mountains Community Services: 4925 46 St.
- Red Deer Polytechnic: The Gathering Place (Room 1009), 100 College Blvd.
The city asks residents to ensure the plant is not damaged or hindered by the ribbon. The city has tied ribbons to trees in City Hall Park and on the Ross Street Patio.
“Everyone’s reconciliation journey will look different,” said Walsh.
“For this reason, we have also included a list of resources and information on our website for those looking to learn more about our past and our journey forward.”
For more information, visit www.reddeer.ca/orangeribbon.