The town of Deep River recognized Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Thursday by raising an orange flag at the town hall.
Reeve Glenn Doncaster, who led the efforts to honour the day, welcomed about three dozen people who gathered around the cenotaph in front of the town hall for a brief ceremony.
“I truly wish I had something profound to day at this moment,” Doncaster said, “but as someone that was born in this country in 1965 of parents that were born in this country from ancestors that came from Europe, I do not have the experience this day calls for.”
Doncaster began with “something we all know,” an acknowledgement that “we are standing on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people and celebrate the longstanding connections that the Algonquins hold with these lands and waters as the traditional stewards since time immemorial.”
“I believe that the path to reconciliation begins with knowledge,” he said.
“Let us use the raising of this flag as a beginning of our education and use the rest of this day to… listen to and learn from the stories that will be told. For it is through education and knowledge that will give us the tools to truly embark on a path of reconciliation.”
Doncaster added that we must recognize that “the burden of reconciliation is on us and not our Algonquin friends and neighbours.”
“In the spirit of good partnership, we must take the time necessary to learn.”
Doncaster invited local resident, longtime journalist and former mayor of Laurentian Hills Vance Gutzman to join him in raising the flag.
Gutzman is a member of the Adams/Lukus family, members of the small Indigenous community that lived along the Ottawa River before the founding of Deep River as the townsite for the Chalk River nuclear laboratories in 1945.
Ceremonies, music and stories of the early families are also being shared through the day at Deep River’s waterfront park.
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