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East Kootenay events for Indigenous Peoples Day

Events in Invermere, Cranbrook and Roosville

June 21 is National Indigenous People’s Day. On this day all Canadians recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.

According to the government of Canada, June 21 is the chosen day because many Indigenous groups and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage around the time of the summer solstice.

  • in 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now the Assembly of First Nations, called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day
  • in 1995, the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Peoples
  • also in 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day

On June 21, 2017, the Prime Minister issued a statement announcing the intention to rename this day National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Events are held across Canada for National Indigenous Peoples Day and there are three planned for the East Kootenay.

On June 20 in Cranbrook the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services Society National Indigenous Peoples Day will be held. This is a celebration of Indigenous culture and Indigenous youth.It will be held at Rotary Park in Cranbrook from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There will be a barbecue lunch, face painting, sharing of a legend, dancing, jigging and drumming and door prizes. Everyone is welcome.

Also on June 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at James Chabot Park in Invermere join the Shuswap Band for dancers, drumming, Indigenous craft vendors, a barbecue, activities and games.

On June 21, it’s the annual Yaq’it ?a-knuqli’it Border Walk to bring awareness that the border divides Indigenous families. There will be dance demonstrations, drum circle, games and a performance by George Canyon. Meet at the Roosville border at 9:30 a.m. The walk begins at 10 a.m. with lunch and celebration to follow.

“If we don’t have language and we don’t have culture, our own culture, then who are we? We become mainstream assimilated people” Julie Birdstone told the Townsman at the 2023 celebration.

“There was a lot of services where we couldn’t go into. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1960s that we were actually considered citizens of Canada and we were allowed to vote,” she said. “I remember my grandparents, when it was time to go and vote, they would dress up in their best clothes. That’s how much it meant to them.”

“It’s our responsibility to share our culture and to build our children up so that they’re standing here in 20 years.”

“We don’t just celebrate today. We celebrate every day.”





Carolyn Grant

About the Author: Carolyn Grant

I have been with the Kimberley Bulletin since 2001 and have enjoyed every moment of it.
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