MAIN PHOTO: Jaylen Lundrigan shows Madison and Rae Williams how to play a Mi’kmaq game during the A Day of Healing event held near the site of the former Shubenacadie Residential School. (Healey photo)

SHUBENACADIE: It was, as one Sipekne’katik Band councillor put it, a day of healing, reflection and listening to survivors of the Shubenacadie Residential School and Elders from the community.

That’s what the Sipekne’katik “A Day of Healing” held near the former Shubenacadie Residential School site off Hwy 215 on July 1 was all about. Instead of a Canada Day ceremony, a day of reflection was held and more than 150 people from across the East Hants area attended.

There was music from youth from LSK who performed the Mi’kmaq Honour Song; Chief Mike Sack; and Dorene Bernard gave some history of the Residential School.

Chief Mike Sack. (Healey photo)

Chief Sack told media seeing the orange colours as he drove through nearby communities left him with a good feeling.

“It was a good feeling as I was driving around the communities of Shubenacadie and other areas and seeing the orange shirts outside homes,” he said.

He also addressed calls by some to Cancel Canada Day. For him, it wasn’t about that.

“It’s not about shaming Canada Day,” Chief Sack said. “It’s all about making everybody familiar, educating them on what’s happening and where we’re looking to go, to let them know we’re resilient and we’re here.”

The short ceremony was held along the banks of the Shubenacadie River.

A make-shift memorial to all the children that died in Residential Schools or never came back home has been erected there.

Following the brief kick-off to the events, a Remembrance Parade was held from the site to the Arbour at the Sipekne’katik First Nation near LSK School where the Day of Healing events continued.

East Hants RCMP assisted in keeping traffic flowing around the plethora of vehicles that were parked along the side of the road.

For those in attendance at the river, the ceremony was emotional and left them feeling heavy.

Chief Sack provided a brief update on the search at the grounds of the former school site.

According to Sack, there has been an estimated 30 per cent of the land surrounding the former school site scanned by the team in charge of doing it. He said as of now, there’s nothing that stands out in the findings.

Here are some photos from the ceremony by the river that The Laker News attended: