June 21 marks National Indigenous People’s Day, an occasion for Canadians to recognize and celebrate the heritage, cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in our country.
A number of events and ceremonies are happening across Manitoba to mark the occasion, including a free, all-day, family-friendly concert hosted by Indigenous Music at The Cube in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.
Called the Nistumee Neepinee Keesikow Concert, it will span genres and feature 20 Indigenous artists from Manitoba, along with a DJ playing music by Indigenous artists.
Food vendors and crafts by Indigenous artisans will also be on offer.
More information can be found on Indigenous Music’s website.
The Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq is also hosting a concert throughout its gallery as part of the Inuit Studies Conference.
Gallery-visitors will be treated to a lineup of live music featuring Leonard Sumner, Fawn Wood and more.
Admission is on a first come, first serve basis, so you are asked to arrive early.
More details can be found on the WAG-Qaumajuq’s website.
Meanwhile, the University of Manitoba’s Rady Faculty of Health Sciences is also holding morning and noon-hour celebrations at its Bannatyne campus.
The day begins with the lighting of a sacred fire and a pipe ceremony led by Elder Margaret Lavallee in the Mashkiki Gitigaan Medicine Garden.
There will also be a formal morning ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. in the garden, weather permitting. The university said it will include an honour song by Dr. Lisa Monkman.
The ceremony will then move indoors to the Brodie Atrium to include a special announcement at noon to honour Lavallee, a survivor of the residential school system and Elder in Residence at Ongomiizwin-Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing. Last month she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university.
More details on the University of Manitoba’s website.
The Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis History Project also launched a new website to coincide with Indigenous Peoples Day.
The new site gives access to educational and historical resources about Indigenous patients at tuberculosis hospitals.
The community-led, Indigenous health history project was launched in 2019 during the National Gathering of Elders.
The website can be found here.
Brandon is also hosting a full-day of events an attractions, including a Tipi Village, cultural heritage displays, an Indigenous market and free, outdoor entertainment.
More details can be found on Brandon’s National Indigenous Peoples Day website.
Meanwhile, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) has full-day of National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in Thompson including a sunrise ceremony at MacLean Park, a pancake breakfast, and a round dance and closing ceremonies.
A full itinerary can be found on MKO’s website.
NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY HISTORY
According to the federal government, National Indigenous Peoples Day was formerly known as National Aboriginal Day, and was announced in 1996 by Governor General Roméo LeBlanc.
It came as a result of consultations and statements of support by Indigenous groups like the Assembly of First Nations and the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples.
In 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement, announcing the renaming of the event to National Indigenous Peoples Day.
For more National Indigenous Peoples Day history, resources and information, visit the Government of Canada’s website.
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