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LETTER: Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in Clearwater

Letter to the editor
Brigette MacDougall, centre, led a song during a National Indigenous Peoples Day gathering June 2021. She was accompanied by Rose McArthur, left, and Cindy Wilgosh. (Stephanie Hagenaars / Clearwater Times)

On June 21, Canadians from all walks of life are invited to participate in the many National Indigenous Peoples Day events that will be taking place from coast to coast.

This is a special day to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. National Indigenous Peoples Day takes place on June 21, giving Indigenous people and Canadians alike a chance to celebrate the culture and heritage of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people across the country.

It takes place on this particular day because it coincides with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

“National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to remember our past leaders — their hard work and their legacy for self-determination left to us to carry on,” Harry Nice Jr. of the Gitwinksihlkw Nisga’a Village Government said in a statement.

The day was established after the National Indian Brotherhood, a precursor to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), mounted a campaign to have the date recognized as National Aboriginal Solidarity Day in 1982.

Quebec’s legislature recognized June 21 as a day to celebrate Indigenous culture in 1991.

Five years later, the Sacred Assembly, a national meeting of indigenous and non-indigenous people, called for a national day to recognize aboriginal contributions to Canada.

June 21 was officially declared National Aboriginal Day by Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc in 1996.

National Aboriginal Day on June 21 kick starts Celebrate Canada! an 11-day celebration that also includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and concludes with Canada Day (July 1)!

Clearwater will be following this celebration, with the National Indigenous Peoples Day event at the Dutch Lake Community Centre. The event starts at 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 in the gym. Everyone is invited to attend.

There will be a concession set up with bannock and chilli, coffee, tea and water, all by donation.

We will have information displays, craft stations, music, games, etc., and to conclude the 11 days of celebrating, we will then participate in an event at the Wells Gray Information Centre on Friday July 1 in the Canada Day celebration the District of Clearwater will be hosting.

Please watch for details of this event coming soon. Looking forward to seeing everyone on June 21.

Yours in Community Spirit,

Cindy Wilgosh

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