The Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation has been rescheduled for September 30, following the cancellation on June 21 due to extreme weather. The event will take place on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30) between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. The walk will begin at Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI) and end at the “Where our Paths Cross” Reconciliation Circle art installation in Victoria Park (across the road from 422 Spadina Cres W).
“The significance of a walk can be attributed to the Sunday walks in residential schools; this was often the only time when siblings and cousins of different genders might be reunited,” says Judy Pelly, a Residential School Survivor and member of the Rock Your Roots Walk organizing committee. “It’s meaningful to see Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples come together in this way.”
Rock Your Roots is put on by Reconciliation Saskatoon, which the City of Saskatoon co-chairs along with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. The event, which has seen attendance in the thousands in past years, was first held in 2016. The intent of this event is to answer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action by demonstrating a commitment to Reconciliation, honouring Residential School Survivors, and continuing work towards an inclusive community.
“This walk is an opportunity to learn about and honour First Nation and Métis residential school survivors,” says Shirley Isbister, President of Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI). “It’s an inclusive event that welcomes everyone to come out and participate. We look forward to being together.”
Individuals of all ages are invited to attend—alone or as part of a group. Workplaces and other organizations are encouraged to send a team and invited to come outfitted with banners showcasing their organization’s support for Reconciliation. Many schools will be closed for the day in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which presents an opportunity for parents to bring their children and partake in this powerful Reconciliation event together. Cultural performers will 'rock their roots' to start and end the walk, sharing their culture and showcasing Saskatoon's incredible diversity.
“Rock Your Roots is an opportunity to bring our community together to understand and be educated on residential schools and how they have negatively impacted Indigenous peoples,” says Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand. “This walk is a symbol of Reconciliation and a commitment to change for the better, so that all people can have a good quality of life.”
“Rock Your Roots represents an acknowledgment of the multi-generational impacts of residential schools and a commitment to Reconciliation,” says Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark. “It’s a public demonstration of support for residential school attendees and those lost. It’s a promise to work towards a future that affords every member of our community equal opportunity.”
This event is open to all and there is no charge for participating. Walk participants are invited to wear their cultural dress or symbols, an EveryChildMatters shirt, or any other orange shirt. For the latest event information, follow the Rock Your Roots Facebook Event.