Today is National Aboriginal Day, and activities have been taking place across the country to mark the event. The day is meant to celebrate the heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Canada, and was established back in 1996 by former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc. It is held on June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice.
In the Border City, activities took place at the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre to mark the national event. The day started with a pancake breakfast, followed by a tipi raising and crafts. After lunch, there were addresses from dignitaries, along with remarks from the president of the LNFC, Audrey Parke.
Newly-reelected Chief Wallace Fox of Onion Lake Cree Nation brought greetings from his people to city residents, and later participated with Lloydminster mayor Rob Saunders in a grand entry for a mini-powwow on the street near the centre around 1:30. Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young was also present at the event.
Saunders said it was an honour to take part in the events, and spoke highly of the staff of the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre.
“Bonnie Start and her board of directors, and all the staff here, have not only a safe and supportive space, but they’ve added a lot of educational components to their delivery and their programs, and I think they’re making a tremendous difference in our community,” said Saunders.
Saunders also said today was not his first grand entry, having taken part in different powwows before.
“My footwork probably isn’t the best, but (I’m) still working on it,” said Saunders.
Following the mini powwow, there was a performance from the Creeland Dancers, followed by supper and a closing round dance.