Two communities come together in the spirit of reconciliation

The Southampton bridge, ‘Zgaa-biig-ni-gan’ … “We Are Connected”, seemed to have extra special meaning on the inaugural Truth and Reconciliation Day, September 30th, and Orange Shirt Day in memory of residential school children who died.

The bridge that spans the Saugeen River between the two communities of Southampton (Saugeen Shores) and Saugeen First Nation is a symbol of connection.

It was a blaze of orange as students from the local G. C. Huston Public School and residents of both communities walked toward each other and met in the middle of the bridge.  There, Saugeen Elder Rita Roote, a residential school survivor, offered an Indigenous prayer and Chief Lester Anoquot welcomed everyone.

                        (L) Lori Kewaquom and Elder Rita Roote (R)

Traffic was halted in both directions by Saugeen Shores Police Service as the Saugeen Women’s Drummers performed an honour song followed by the Men’s Drumming Corps.

“It’s very meaningful to meet on this bridge,” said Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau.  “This is an important day for our communities to come together and face our truth and work on reconciliation with one another.  That’s a mission that my community takes very seriously and we look forward to reconciling what ever disagreements we may have had or issues that may have been between us and to move forward in partnership with the Elders and Council of Saugeen First Nation and to build a stronger community together.”

                                   Mayor Luke Charbonneau

Chief Lester Anoquot thanked everyone for attending and said that he hoped this day of reconciliation could continue “… not just one day out of the year, but every day.”


                    Chief Lester Anoquot                                         Saugeen Times File photo