The second Walk for Reconciliation in Vancouver had an incredible turnout as tens of thousands of people representing diverse communities came together to support Indigenous peoples in Canada on Sunday.
The event was hosted in partnership between Reconciliation Canada and the City of Vancouver to bring together non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples in a positive way. This is only the second year this event has taken place since the inaugural walk of about 70,000 people in 2013 to gather support for the Truth and Reconciliation hearings being held at the time.
“This walk this year comes amidst a time of heightened awareness of the reconciliation movement in Canada, due to a lot of great work accomplished by other national organizations in this space,” said Michelle Cho, communications director at Reconciliation Canada.
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The walk concluded in Strathcona Park where there were festivities, performers, and speakers for the remainder of the day. The park was stirred to life with a blanketing ceremony led by Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation. With the attention of thousands of people, he gave a short unifying speech that brought many to tears.
“We are beginning the new trajectory of Canadian history, and entering a post-colonial age,” said Campbell. “Our history is your history. We will no longer be invisible in our own land. Our history is your history.”
Many of the other speakers expressed that despite the progress made in recent years, the country still has a long way to go in terms of changing the dialogue around Indigenous peoples and making reconciliation a national priority.
“There were so many beautiful moments throughout the day. At some point, we were show[n] a photo of the Georgia Street viaduct from an aerial perspective. The viaduct was entirely lined with people, from all backgrounds, ages, faiths, and cultures. It was a beautiful sight to see,” Cho told The Peak.
There were also many members of the SFU community who took part in the walk.
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On our way to the #WalkforRec this morning. So excited to be there to walk in support of reconciliation. We are all one.
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“In the next year, we hope to see a groundswell of individual, organization, and community-led initiatives focused on action and implementation of reconciliation action plans,” said Cho “Reconciliation is a journey that involves everyone — reconciliation begins with oneself and then extends into our families, relationships, workplaces, and eventually into our communities.”
Aside from the many performing artists like the N’we Jinan Artists and Eagle Song Dancers, there were also booths placed along the outskirts of the park, equipping the citizens of Vancouver with resources and education.
Cho expressed the importance of students and youth getting involved in reconciliation events and conversation as the future of the country.
“Canadians have a high sense of justice and equality. In order to live up to who we aspire to be as a country, we must collectively work towards a future where all peoples can achieve their full potential and shared prosperity,” said Cho. “ We thank you for joining us in taking a step toward a new way forward.”