Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day by participating in Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation
After a two year pause due to COVID, the Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation is back in-person for the community to gather together and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) at 10:00 a.m.
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, attended by thousands in past years, was first held in 2016 with attendance growing each year. The intent 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 working towards an inclusive community.
“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 for organizers to see Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples come together in this way.”
Individuals of all ages are invited to attend, including groups representing organizations, workplaces, and schools. Cultural performers from across the city have been invited to ‘rock their roots’ along the walk route by sharing a piece of their culture and showcasing Saskatoon’s incredible diversity.
“This walk is an opportunity to learn about and honour Indigenous history as well as celebrate the cultural mosaic that is our community,” says Shirley Isbister, President of the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI). “It’s an inclusive event that welcomes everyone to participate; I’m really hoping that we’ll see a great turnout.”
“Rock Your Roots is an opportunity to bring our community together to understand and be educated on residential schools that have negatively impacted Indigenous peoples,” says Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand. “This walk is a sign of Reconciliation and a commitment to change for the better, so that all people can have a quality of life.”
Walk participants are invited to wear their cultural regalia, an EveryChildMatters shirt, or any other orange shirt. Rock Your Roots t-shirts – with all proceeds directed to programming and activities for Rock Your Roots – can be ordered by emailing RockYourRootstshirts@gmail.com.
“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.”
The Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation event takes place on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) in Victoria Park between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. The start location is in Victoria Park near Legion Branch 63 on Spadina Crescent West. All are welcome. More information is available at saskatoon.ca/Indigenous.