September 30, 2021
Call to Action #80 – Establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Today is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Today honours Survivors of Residential Schools, their families, their communities, and the children who never made it home. Today is a day of truth, because without truth there can be no reconciliation. After years of truth shared by Survivors about the devastating legacy of the Residential Schools, it is time to reflect on the reality.
For many of us at Soulpepper we have had the great privilege of sharing space with Shirley Horn, the former and first Chancellor of Algoma University, and a past Chief and Elder of the Missanabie Cree First Nation. We have been privileged to hear her story, and experience her knowledge and care as the Resident Elder of Soulpepper for many years. Algoma University is also the former site of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School, which operated for 97 years from 1873 to 1970. Shingwauk was the second Residential School Shirley was sent to, and the school she attended for six years. She’s a rare Survivor-graduate of both the Residential School and the University, and went on to found the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association which is dedicated to sharing, healing and learning in relation to the legacy of Residential Schools. Soulpepper has made a donation to the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association to help further her work, and we encourage you to consider making a donation to Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association on this first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
To donate to the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association make sure to select it from the drop-down list.
For many years Shirley Horn has dedicated time to Soulpepper as the Resident Elder of the Company she has brought staff and artists together, leading us through sharing circles, and has been a big part of our continued learning. At Soulpepper, award-winning playwright Falen Johnson also connected artistically with Shirley, and has a piece in development about Shirley’s life called Welcome To My Home. It explores the heartbreaks and triumphs of the little girl who grew up to be a leading voice for a whole Nation.
Welcome To My Home will have a reading in the Her Words Festival of New Works next month if you would like to hear more from Falen Johnson and Shirley Horn.
As artists we recognize the many ways we can play a role in sharing truth and working towards reconciliation, and as a Company we commit to doing the urgent work of uplifting Indigenous voices, supporting their stories, and continuing to amplify call for accelerated action on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. One of the 94 Calls to Action made today happen.
Today is a day of truth, and the truth can be painful and difficult to bear alone. For those seeking support there are people and resources available:
National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266
Mental Health Resources from NAC Indigenous Theatre: https://nac-cna.ca/en/indigenoustheatre/mental-health-resources
We honour and remember Residential School Survivors, their families, communities and the children who never made it home. Every Child Matters.
June 21, 2021
Today we would like to share with you this beautiful piece called Summer Solstice, that brings together Indigenous artists from across the country, produced by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, commissioned by Soulpepper.
This piece is a celebration – a celebration of the land, of light, and of the people who have danced these lands since time immemorial. With Summer Solstice we honour the multitude of incredible cultures of Indigenous people in this country and the contributions that are made every single day.
"Our Solstice dance journey follows the lead of our Brother Sun rising in the East and moving to the West. Feet caressing Mother Earth across the generations and Nations in honour of our reciprocal relationship, and in alignment with nature’s pathways. The Earth gives energy to the dancer and the dancer gives their energy back to the Earth. We are a part of this unbroken circle; a regenerative, life-sustaining flow. Creating this video, I am reminded of the immense beauty and power of the land and of the people and of our sacred ancestral, present, future connections to spirit and place." ― Santee Smith, Founding & Managing Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre
June 4, 2021
Orange to honour the 215 children who were discovered in unmarked graves in a residential school in Kamloops, with so many more unaccounted for.
Orange to remember the hundreds of other children who were forcibly removed from their families, stripped of their culture and language, and sent to residential schools across the country.
Orange to stand with the survivors and families who carry the trauma through generations and continue to feel the impact.
Orange to echo the calls for justice.
Orange to commit to the urgent work as an organization to do more learning, to uplift Indigenous voices and to amplify calls for accelerated action on the TRC recommendations.
We have so much work to do as a country, and as artists we recognize the many ways we can play a role. We commit to the urgent work as an organization to do more learning, to uplift Indigenous voices and to amplify calls for accelerated action on the TRC recommendations.
We also encourage you to offer support to the Indigenous community by joining us in donating to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society at https://www.irsss.ca/donate.
215. Every child matters.