Celebrating National Indigenous People Day in and around Edmonton

Hundreds of students from various city schools gathered at Westglen School on 127 Street in Edmonton for their fourth annual powwow on June 2. Pictured above is traditional male dancer Charlie Favel from Montana, he was everyone's favourite photo subject at the event. Photo by Terry Lusty.

by Matthew Levine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

(ANNews) – Throughout National Indigenous History Month there are numerous celebratory events taking place across Alberta. Many of these events fall on June 21st as it is National Indigenous Peoples Day,  a day that has been set aside to acknowledge, learn about and celebrate Indigenous art and culture.

“Indigenous Peoples in Alberta have historically contributed immensely to this province, and we are grateful for their continued efforts in creating a better future for Alberta. They have provided important assistance fighting the Alberta wildfires and we thank them for all their efforts. While the wildfires have left some destruction in their wake, there are still many opportunities in which we can celebrate the vibrant, strong and rich Indigenous culture in Alberta, and the contributions Indigenous people have made and continue to make to the province,” stated Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson.

“Now is an excellent time to learn and celebrate Indigenous history. We can read an article, listen to a podcast or song created by an Indigenous person, attend a National Indigenous Peoples Day event or visit a local museum in a nearby city or town.

“Reconciliation is something we can all work towards now and throughout the year. There is no time to do so like the present. Remember that together we are Alberta strong.”

The Telus World of Science is holding a sequence of scheduled events starting at 8:00 AM on June 21 with a tipi raising, and finishing at 1:30 PM with a BBQ. The time in between will be filled with ceremonies and performances from musicians, dancers, and speakers. They have also chosen to give free general admission tickets to anyone who identifies as indigenous.

Another event will be held at the Bissell Center (10527 96 Street) from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This event includes a pipe ceremony, a smudging station, traditional hand games, learning and watching round dances, beading, a flutist performance, and a traditional meal.

Bent Arrow (11648 85 Street) is hosting an event that also starts at 10:00 AM but finishes at 2:00 PM. They offer activities for the whole family ranging from cultural demonstrations, crafts and activities to Métis jiggers and powwow drumming performances. This event will be held at the Bent Arrow head office.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is opening its doors and exhibitions to the public, free of charge. The events there will last from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM and consist of both interactive and noninteractive workshops and viewings. These include painting, a beading demonstration, film screenings and access to all exhibits.

The Edmonton 2 Spirit Society in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day is hosting a family BBQ at 6770 129 Avenue. It is a ticketed event that includes a medicine walk and entertainment. Register in advance and bring your own blanket and chairs as seating will not be provided.

The Town of Devon, in partnership with Treaty Partner Consulting & Advising, is hosting a Summer Solstice gathering at Devon Voyageur Park. This gathering is meant to start the beginning of the season in a good way. There will be guest speakers sharing knowledge and stories, and a stew and bannock lunch for attendees. Everyone is welcome!

If you are busy during the day and still want to find a place to celebrate NIPD, King Edward School provides an evening event from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. At this event, respected elders Jerry and Jo-Ann Saddleback will provide teachings, and children within the community will be honoured through song and prayer. They recommend you bring chairs or blankets to sit on, as well as water and snacks if necessary.

Check your local listings for events near you.

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