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October 3, 2021 - Double Holiday - Gathering of Thanksgiving

While a number of the 'regulars' were holding long postponed family reunions of their own, Mother Nature blessed the over 30 ICS members and friends who met in Herbert Park, Dublin, on October 3 to mark Canada's new National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. Enjoying bright sunshine and a cool breeze COVID-separated attendees reconnected and welcomed some new faces; some brought picnics, some took advantage of the Park's Sunday market fare, others just visited. The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation has a nickname: Orange Shirt Day.The explanation for it is set out in the accompanying Description and Details.

The highlight for everyone in the group, which literally spanned nine generations, was the chance to chat with the new Canadian ambassador to Ireland Nancy Smyth and her husband Lex Burger. Wearing an orange T-shirt was emblazoned with native artwork surrounding a heart containing the tag line "Every Child Matters", Nancy spoke of the Day's importance. She also told the group how the ICS website helped her preparation for her new role and how she was looking forward to working with ICS. She concluded her remarks by surprising ICS leadership group member Dave Wilson with a gift package that included a T-shirt like the one she was wearing to thank him for organizing the 'Gathering'.

On behalf of the ICS leadership group Dave spoke about the appropriateness of linking the two holidays. He stressed that the thanks to be given for the new holiday was that Canada had owned up to its cultural genocide and that its Native Peoples were benefitting from concrete steps the federal and provincial governments had taken and were continuing to take towards remediation of the injustices they had suffered and continue to experience. Even before those steps are fully carried out, he said, those governments are being seen a model for countries around the world with similar histories but, at best, offer only empty words of 'apology'. Deb Haaland the US Secretary of the Interior had acknowledged Canada's example less than two weeks after unmarked children's graves had been discovered this summer in the grounds of a former British Columbia industrial school, one of many that almost all Indigenous children were forced to attend, not to get a good education but rather to take away all aspects of their native heritage. The pressures on the governments to continue to redress those and other injustices, he noted, include, among many other things, the popular support for Orange Shirt Day and the CBC web site that regularly reports on the progress being made in implementing the 94 recommendations arising from the extensive work of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

AND the group enjoyed an unexpected special treat. Coincidentally, an embassy staff member's husband who among other things has musical talents was scheduled to play for some exotic dancers in another part of the Park. To the ICS group's delight, he arranged for them to perform for it, too.  The dance group, Zoryanna, perform and fuse dance forms from around the world, particularly from Arabia, India, Indonesia and European countries.  

Back to Mother Nature for the final word. Just as the group was breaking up after the event's scheduled 3:30 conclusion, there was quite a downpour. Her timing showed how much she approved of the Gathering; she hadn't wanted to dampen it. 

Those who had arrived by the time the Zoryanna dance group performed joined in a photo with them.

Ambassador Nancy Smyth and Dave Wilson after she presented him with an Orange Shirt Day T-shirt.

The Zoryanna dance group perform.


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