TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2023 – Today and tomorrow, the City of Toronto joins Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre (TCFNCC) for the 6th annual Indigenous Legacy Gathering. The Gathering acknowledges and honours residential school survivors, their children and communities and commemorates Orange Shirt Day. The City will observe the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to remember First Nations, Inuit and Métis children who never returned home from residential and day schools, survivors and their families
Undertaken by TCFNCC, in collaboration with the City, the Indigenous Legacy Gathering showcases and celebrates the diversity of Indigenous Peoples’ cultures, traditions and languages through workshops, presentations, stories, teachings, dance, film and music. The public is welcome to attend the Indigenous Legacy Gathering, free of charge, as an opportunity to learn, reflect and engage.
For the Gathering, Nathan Phillips Square will be transformed into a cultural space with vibrant tipis on the site and programming from Indigenous community agencies. The Grand Entry will take place today, Friday, September 29, symbolizing the strength of residential school survivors, those affected intergenerationally and the unity within Toronto’s diverse Indigenous population. A sacred fire will burn over the two days, allowing visitors to make offerings and prayers. Each morning of the Gathering will begin with a 7 a.m. sunrise ceremony conducted by Elders/Knowledge Keepers and visitors are invited to join to pay their respect to creation. The ceremony will be followed by speakers, acknowledgements, workshops, presentations, storytelling, drumming, dancing, teachings and demonstrations. Visitors are encouraged to wear orange.
This year’s gathering
This year’s Gathering will focus on Grandmother Moon. Within Indigenous Creation Stories, Grandmother Moon plays a vital role in bringing harmony to the world and is honoured for guiding all cycles of life. Recognizing that the event this year takes place on a full moon, the Gathering will acknowledge and honour her presence, allowing for reflection on the critical role that our grandmothers have or had in our lives. A water ceremony featuring Grandmothers will be held this evening by the reflecting pond. More information about the Indigenous Legacy Gathering is available on the TCFNCC Legacy Gathering webpage .
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The Gathering also promotes the development of the Spirit Garden as a permanent feature on Nathan Phillips Square. The Garden responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 82, for governments to commission and install a Residential Schools commemoration sculpture in each national and provincial capital city to honour residential school survivors and all the children lost to their families and communities. The Spirit Garden, which is under construction, is to be completed in fall 2024. More information is available on the TCFNCC Spirit Garden webpage .
TCFNCC serves the Indigenous community with confidence for, and commitment to, their wellbeing. The agency’s mandate is to provide counselling, material assistance and other direct services to First Nations people, as well as to encourage and enhance their spiritual and personal growth. More information is available on the TCFNCC’s website .
The City will observe the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to remember First Nations, Inuit and Métis children who never returned home from residential and day schools, survivors and their families. The City is committed to advancing truth, justice and reconciliation and is making progress in moving forward the actions of its first Reconciliation Action Plan. To mark the Day, flags at all City facilities will be lowered to half-mast and the Toronto sign will be lit orange tomorrow, Saturday, September 30. The Survivors Flag will also be flown at half-mast at City Hall.
More information about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is available on the City’s website.