Nearly 5,000 people turned out for the Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation in downtown Saskatoon Wednesday.
People from all walks of life, including hundreds of schoolchildren, marched down 19th Street East from Victoria Park to Spadina Crescent from 10 to 11 a.m., creating a colourful sea of flags, bandanas and backpacks.
“I love to see all the different faces and the amount of support that’s come out,” said Michael Linklater, who walked alongside friends.
“It’s really good to see, coming from an Indigenous perspective, the allies we have in today’s world.”
Volunteers with the march said the turnout nearly doubled last year’s walk, which attracted approximately 2,800 people.
The celebration was part of National Aboriginal Day, with activities planned in Victoria Park throughout the day including a family lunch.
Many who marched said they were doing it as part of the “healing process” of reconciliation.
“That’s what this day symbolizes for me, the need to heal together,” Rachel Fiddler said.
“It’s not just my history, not just your history. It’s ours.”
Mayor Charlie Clark and other city officials joined in the march, taking selfies with students and other marchers.
As participants left Victoria Park for the start of the walk, they were greeted by dancers and drums at the War of 1812 memorial.
— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) June 21, 2017
Police escorted the walk down 19th Street, with volunteers walking along to ensure no-one impeded traffic on the other side of the road.
Most wore yellow Reconciliation Saskatoon bandanas, while others waved indigenous and Metis flags.
Reconciliation Saskatoon organized the march as the culmination of a month-long program to show how their members were engaging the reconciliation process and implementing recommendations.