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Native Women's Association of Canada hosts special exhibit on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) will host an open house on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to showcase Indigenous culture and arts.

The NWAC building will open its doors at 120 Promenade de Portage in Gatineau from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Carol McBride is the President of NWAC, and says the day is about sharing and listening to each other.

"For me it is a time of reflection, it is a time of taking it all in, about our history, the things that have happened to our ancestors, and what keeps happening in terms of racism and discrimination… but we survived," McBride said.

A special art exhibition was created for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Curator Irene Goodwin says the room tells the story of her people.

"The reason this exhibit is so important is that it is educational, it creates awareness and supports reconciliation," Goodwin said.  "There is a lot of history that is not taught in schools, and it is necessary that all individuals, all Canadians know our history."

The exhibit features Indigenous artwork, smudging tools, as well as displays symbolizing desks children would have sat in while attending residential schools or Indian day schools.

The exhibit finishes with displays of orange shirts and symbols of reconciliation.

"So that today when we are working together, we come together with two hearts operating with the same goal and that is reconciliation. So exhibits like this teach people the elements that may be missing in the educational system."

Indigenous art will be on display at the Native Women's Association of Canada building in Gatineau on Friday, for an event to mark the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)

Goodwin says it is important to reflect on the past and the damage that was done to generations of Indigenous people. She says when she was four, she was sent to Indian day school, where she lost her ability to speak Ojibwe and connect with her culture.

Goodwin says art has been a powerful tool in the healing process.

"Art is an important tool of expression."

As part of the open house, residents will be able to tour the entire building that will include Indigenous artwork, singing, dancing, language workshops, as well as a short film that follows the timeline of residential schools in Canada.

"The important thing is culture- reviving what was lost," Goodwin said.

"You’ll be experiencing culture, you see the arts, you will hear songs, dance, drums, experience wonderful foods. We also have language sessions… all this is to bring our people together - not just Indigenous people, but all Canadians."

McBride says she hopes all Canadians take time to reflect on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

"Just putting yourself in our place for a day, think about your children, think about your grandchildren, and see how far we have come as Aboriginal people," McBride said. "That is what I am hoping for. I think it is coming, people are a lot more aware of the horrible things that have happened to our people - I see it, I hear it." Top Stories

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