Lolly Bennett performs a drum song to start the unveiling at the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Lolly Bennett performs a drum song to start the unveiling at the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Orange Shirt story highlighted in South Cariboo

Several events held to mark first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Residents around 100 Mile House had a few opportunities to take part in events marking the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre hosted an unveiling of a new piece of artwork by pencil artist Bryan Austerberry, entitled I Heard Your Voice in the Wind, inspired by the devastating history of residential schools in Canada.

Austerberry told the crowd of about 30 attendees that he felt compelled to create the artwork following the news earlier this year that the remains of 215 children had been discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“When I first heard that, there was something that just grabbed me inside,” he explained. “I knew I had to do something. And I had commission work I was doing, but I put it all aside.”

The drawing features several First Nations spiritual symbols including an eagle, hummingbird, the sun, moon, raven, salmon and loon, as well as an Indigenous baby meant to represent “all of the children denied life at residential schools.”

Austerberry said from the time he started the drawing, he knew he wanted to donate it to the Friendship Centre. He is also selling a limited number of prints, with $50 from each sale donated to Stemete7uw’i, specifically to help the centre find a new downtown location.

Paper Cranes for Hope was also on-site selling hand-made cranes, with proceeds going to the friendship centre and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Over at Parkside Art Gallery, dozens of families took part in the StoryWalk, which featured The Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad. The children’s book – which launched the Orange Shirt Day movement – shares the story of Webstad’s experience attending residential school as a child.

Team members with the 100 Mile House Wranglers spent the day reading the story to groups of children who visited.

Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy staff were also on hand, giving out teddy bears and free books by Indigenous authors, and said afterward that close to 40 children came by and took part in the StoryWalk.



melissa.smalley@100milefreepress.net

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Bryan Austerberry unveils his drawing, ‘I Heard Your Voice in the Wind’ at a small ceremony at Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Bryan Austerberry unveils his drawing, ‘I Heard Your Voice in the Wind’ at a small ceremony at Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Adrienne Montgomery and a few little ones check out The Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad, which was on display at the StoryWalk at Parkside Art Gallery Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Adrienne Montgomery and a few little ones check out The Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad, which was on display at the StoryWalk at Parkside Art Gallery Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Team members from the 100 Mile House Wranglers, Cort Castonguay and Casey Thomson, read the Orange Shirt Story to a group of children at the StoryWalk Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Team members from the 100 Mile House Wranglers, Cort Castonguay and Casey Thomson, read the Orange Shirt Story to a group of children at the StoryWalk Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Free teddy bears and books by Indigenous authors were handed out by CCPL staff at Parkside Art Gallery Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Free teddy bears and books by Indigenous authors were handed out by CCPL staff at Parkside Art Gallery Sept. 30. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)