Today was Canada’s First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. I went to the event in Winnipeg where I met my son Nick, daughter-in-law Debbie, grandson Nolan, and granddaughter Stella. This group was less enthusiastic about having their photo taken by me than some of the other people I met.
I went to the event to show support to Indigenous people, and in particular the Indian Residential School survivors and thrivers as some prefer to be called. I was not sure what to expect from this day. First, the sound equipment was poor. You could only hear the speakers or performers if you went close-up. To get close to the speakers and performers I had to get too close for comfort. After all, this is still a time of Covid-19.
This young girl asked me to take her picture. I also wanted to support those who have a connection to residential schools. But then I realized, we are all connected to the Indian residential schools if we live in Canada, whether we realize it or not. Just like we are all treaty people.
At first I was shy, but then I just went up to some of the people and asked if I could photograph them. None said no. All were pleased to pose and proud to show themselves. Some even asked me to wait while they adjusted their clothes to present their best selves.
I thanked everyone I photographed. I was surprised when some of the people thanked me for taking their picture. Some people just thanked me as I walked by. Why was that? I was just an ordinary white guy in an orange shirt. I think it was because they liked seeing white people out to support them. It made me feel good.
I asked the guy with the flag if I could take his photo and he asked me to included his whole family.
I think people would have enjoyed coming out as I did. It was wonderful. I recommend you try it next year, if you didn’t this year. You might be surprised too.