September 30 is the 3rd National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as well as Orange Shirt Day across Canada. It is a day to honour and remember the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children who attended Indian Residential Schools, and the effects they had on them, their families, and their communities. There are some tenants on Granville Island who are doing their part to observe this day and to raise funds for local Indigenous organizations.
Make and The Wickaninnish Gallery are selling orange shirts whose artwork is designed by Indigenous artists, the proceeds of which will be going to the Urban Native Youth Association and Tseshaht First Nation [c̓išaaʔatḥ] in Port Alberni, respectively. Arts Umbrella is selling orange shirts by artist James Harry, the proceeds of which are going to Urban Native Youth Association and All my Relations Indigenous Society to support their work with local Indigenous Youth.
Already a few years in the making, Arts Umbrella had their first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation event in 2021 for students and their families. They wanted it to be an organized event focused on remembrance and education, and bringing families together, so in 2022, they opened the invitation to everyone. This year, Arts Umbrella is delighted to welcome a number of inspiring guests, including acclaimed artist and recent Audain Prize winner Dana Claxton, who will present a session on Art in the Age of Reconciliation. In the afternoon, founder of Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week Joleen Mitton and designer Yolonda Skelton will participate in a fireside chat, followed by a fashion show of Yolonda’s designs.
As a safe space in the community, Arts Umbrella wants everyone to feel welcome; admission to all events is free, with a suggested pay-what-you-can donation. Reservations are required in advance for capacity reasons. Each year they feature a hands-on family art activity; last year’s project was a medicine wheel using felt and beads, and this year’s will be a Métis sash bracelet. Lisa Hurlbutt, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, is very proud of the event and how it has expanded and grown in just 3 years. She also made a very important point: paying homage and recognizing the lives of Indigenous people, past and present, is not something that should happen just on one day; it’s something that supports a year-long commitment to reconciliation. Visit Arts Umbrella on September 30 to engage, learn, and reflect in community; you can find their activity schedule at the following link.