This weekend, Vancouverites will join people around the country in marking the 14th annual National Aboriginal Day on Sunday (June 21).
“National Aboriginal Day is an important day for indigenous peoples in the northern part of this continent,” Coast Salish activist Kat Norris, who is helping organize this weekend’s festivities, told the Straight.
“We celebrate our culture on a daily basis,” she said, adding that June 21 “is one day where we can show the world that we have pride in our people and our culture”.
Norris has helped organize National Aboriginal Day events for more than a decade. She called the day “a monumental recognition of our people and our culture and traditions”.
Sunday’s celebration will kick off at 11 a.m. in CRAB Park at Portside with a prayer led by Squamish elder Sam George. The event will include traditional drummers, a canoe-arrival ceremony, a “letting go” ceremony, arts and crafts, and a feast. There will also be special activities for children.
On Saturday (June 20), the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (1607 East Hastings Street) will host a Native art fair featuring craft booths and silent and live auctions. Jerry Whitehead, Lewis Evans, Mike Dangeli, Opie Oppenheimer, and Ben Houstie are among the artists whose work will be displayed. The Coyote Brothers will also perform at the event, which starts at 11 a.m.