‘We got an orange sea’: thousands walk through downtown Winnipeg for truth and reconciliation

Thousands of people marked Canada’s second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a walk through downtown Winnipeg Friday.

The second annual Every Child Matters walk began in Oodena circle at The Forks. People gathered to participate in a pipe ceremony and opening prayers, followed by speeches from indigenous elders and chiefs.

”Today is a national day of reconciliation. You know for us as a people it means something,” said Cornell Mclean, acting grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

”They can’t take the Indian out of us. They made us stronger,” he told the crowd.

Their stories and words were felt by attendees, who say it helped them to see their family isn’t grieving the effects of residential schools alone.

”To be here and honour the children that never made it home and all the survivors,” said one attendee.

Organizers say anywhere between 20,000 to 40,000 people joined the morning’s walk, which made its way through The Forks, into downtown Winnipeg, and ended with a powwow at the RBC Convention Centre.

It was standing room only at the convention centre as crowds felt the weight of the event, watching children and survivors dance together.

The powwow was held by the Wa-Say Healing Centre. Executive director Wayne Mason Sr. said every person wearing orange is playing a role in moving reconciliation forward, one person at a time.

“This room is full of orange. We got an orange sea,” he said.

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