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215 hands for reconciliation

How are you meeting truth and reconciliation?
Lori Gagnon is the Aboriginal advisor and liaison at Quesnel CNC campus. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)

Hands have been traced onto orange paper, cut out, and displayed at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) in Quesnel.

The 215 Hands for Reconciliation is a project designed to inspire people to learn the history of residential schools in Canada and, more importantly, to think about how they can be a part of reconciliation.

Each CNC campus participated in the project leading up to Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation taking place Friday, Sept. 30.

The initiative was started by CNC’s executive director of Aboriginal education, Marlene Erickson who challenged each campus to get 215 hands traced and cut out with participants writing their actions towards reconciliation.

“We’re just hoping that the time you sit and draw out your hand, you think of a truth and reconciliation challenge,” said Quesnel CNC campus Aboriginal advisor and liaison Lori Gagnon.

“That you’re being mindful in the moment because we can ask people to recognize truth and reconciliation, we can ask them to wear an orange shirt, but what does that mean? So this gives someone an opportunity to be mindful in a hands-on experience.”

Gagnon recalled a non-Indigenous nursing student spending a good five minutes thinking about what to write on his orange paper hand.

He has connections to a local Indigenous community and told Gagnon he wanted to be responsible to himself and them and challenge himself to meet truth and reconciliation.

Gagnon challenged herself to bring her family to Lhtako Dene Park, joining the Lhtako Dene Nation for drumming, singing and more on Sept. 30.

Read More: Canadians reflect about residential schools on Truth and Reconciliation Day

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