Park at Hollis and Barrington Street
It all started over a year ago, when an audience member stood up at a lecture by senator Murray Sinclair, former chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. "She asked 'What can we do'" Kathrin Winkler recalls. "He said 'Read the damn report!'" The phone line crackles, almost as if for emphasis, as Winkler explains the backstory of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace's Nocturne exhibit, Reading the Truth and Reconciliation Report.
Winkler and her fellow Women for Peace members ("Most of us are old white women but we're willing to lean into what we weren't taught in school, which is the genocide") made good on Sinclair's advice, meeting weekly to read the final summation of the Truth and Reconciliation Report aloud at the Central Library. "We took time with it, and because we have different voices and different views—and something can strike someone else's heart in a different way—we can share that," she says. "Discussing and not hurrying, I think those are all really important parts to reading together."
The group is recreating—and amplifying—this reading circle at Nocturne, gathering at the pedestal where Cornwallis' statue once stood to, as Winkler puts it, have the "words heard out in the open, and also heard in a place where truth needs to be spoken."
Nocturne-goers are invited to join the reading circle for as long as they'd like as the NSVOW members spend six hours reading the final report aloud in its entirety. "The idea that we're not acting on this has become much more urgent" since she's read the full report, Winkler says. "I knew we have no clean water in many northern communities, but this is all part of the same injustice—and I think reading it, it becomes much clearer how deep-seated and urgent and horrific that legacy is.
"Our group will never be done with this report. To participate in the experience will be a good thing, to realize there is a collective responsibility to know some of this truth that's been hidden."