While Culture Days in some previous years was presented as a cultural mosaic, this year the national event will be focused on the the important role all Canadians play in Truth and Reconciliation.
This means a number of local events aimed at learning and understanding, expressing and processing.
The week kicks off ceremoniously on September 26th at 11:00 a.m., with a Treaty 4 flag-raising and acknowledgement.
As City Curator and Arts Coordinator with the City of Weyburn, Regan Lanning, explained, "this past year, or two years, has been difficult for Canadians in terms of all of the the re- findings (I wouldn't say their discoveries) of remains at former residential schools."
She said it's hard to look away from it now that it is known, given that, "they found remains that are like the population of Weyburn, now, is where we're sitting in terms of numbers, so that's a hard one."
The flag-raising will be held in front of Weyburn City Hall.
Chief Connie Big Eagle will be coming from Ocean Man [First Nation], and she will kick off with some words for us," Lanning shared. "City Councilors will be speaking as well, and then there will be some drummers and some dancing, as well as a prayer from an Elder."
She said attendees should be prepared to park a distance away and walk to the event, as the street in the vicinity of City Hall will be closed.
"So there's lots of room for people to come, and to learn, and to witness."
On Tuesday, September 27th, a Residential School Legacy Presentation will be giveN by Tony Stevenson at the Cugnet Centre from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.
Then, a local Culture Days favourite will be held in the multipurpose rooms 1 and 2 at the Weyburn Credit Union Spark Centre on Thursday, September 29th at 7:00 p.m., a collaborative mural.
"This event is facilitated by both the Weyburn Arts Council and Krystal Glowatski, who is a member of the Weyburn Arts Council, and Krystal is an indigenous creator with strong with a strong education in truth and reconciliation," noted Lanning. "So while we, the public, work together to create this mural, Krystal will be talking about the medicine wheel and its meaning in indigenous cultures, and some information on the role settler-descended Canadians need to play in truth and reconciliation."
She said they've never had trouble filling the spaces and pieces of their collaborative mural projects. So while participation will be free, spaces are limited, so you must register by visiting or calling the Spark Centre (306-848-3480) or by using the City's online booking portal.
A special story walk will be held at Jubilee Park on Truth and Reconciliation Day, Friday September 30th. It'll begin at the Spark Centre at 1:00 p.m.
"Then we will walk through the paved paths in Jubilee Park, and there will be signs up that will speak to events that happened, kind of like a treaty timeline for Treaty 4, talking all the way from pre-colonialization up into after the Treaties were signed and up to present day."
The Treaty reconciliation is a partnership between the Weyburn Art Gallery, the City of Weyburn and SE District.
If you miss it that day, however, Lanning said the signs will remain up until October 10th.
A feather-themed art project at Collabartive Studios on September 30th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. While the event is free and drop-in, Glowatski, one of the business owners, will be accepting donations towards Water First, which is a charitable organization addressing addressing water challenges in indigenous communities through education, training and meaningful collaboration.
A screening of "We Were Children" will be played at the Weyburn Public Library at 1:00 p.m. on October 1st, presented in partnership between the Weyburn Arts Council and the Southeast Regional Library.
"This film is not recommended for children under the age of 16 due to its graphic subject matter," Lanning cautioned. "It follows the lives of two children who were forced into the residential school system."
Due to the difficult subject, WAC will hold a discussion after the screening.
"I think it's a movie that a lot of us can learn from, right? It's one thing to like read about it or to like hear stories, but to actually see it reenacted will be incredibly impactful and it's a great opportunity for us to learn."
"People don't realize that we are all treaty people, right? We are all living on Treaty 4 land and that makes us all treaty people, regardless of our ancestry, and acknowledging that we live on Treaty 4 territory and that people were here before our ancestors showed up and just fully understanding what Treaty 4 was and is, and the ramifications of it, is important."