By Greg Price
National Indigenous Peoples Day will be celebrated at Confederation Park in Taber on Thursday.
“Indigenous Peoples Day is an effort to create awareness and understanding about truth and reconciliation. It is a day to celebrate Indigenous people and their culture,” said Lisa Sowinski, FNMI Liaison worker for Horizon School Division.
It is the second Indigenous Peoples Day being celebrated in Taber which has been organized by a committee from Horizon School Division.
The committee decided to split the celebration into two parts. The first is activities being facilitated by schools from 10 a.m.-2p.m. on June 21, with the celebration at Confederation Park going from 4-8 p.m.
School activities will include: presentations of a Metis Jigger followed by a re-enactment of Louis Riel, tipi raising, Indigenous games and activities prepared by students and schools and food samplings of bannock.
Evening activities at Confederation Park will start with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. with Elder Charlie Fox and a prayer by Elder Joyce Old Shoes. There will be a Blackfoot tipi and a presentation by a Metis interpreter guide for the re-enactment of Louis Riel.
Entertainment will include dancers showcasing fancy, grass, chicken, traditional, hoop and jingle genres to go with a flute player and drum group. Food samplings will feature bison burgers, pemmican, berry soup, fired bread and bannock.
Community and area vendors will also be attending , including: Taber Public Library, Alberta Mental Health, Family Connections, Metis Artisan Jane Dearring – Metis Artisan, other indigenous vendors, Dancing Lemons, The Yogurt Spot and others.
“As we walk on this journey to reconciliation, days like last year and this year play an important role in creating awareness and understanding. We learned a lot last year. Indigenous people are excited and proud to share their story and their culture. Celebrating is the beginning of healing,” said Sowinski.
The organizing committee also held its first Horizon School Division Orange Shirt Day Logo Contest.
The committee will be presenting the winner with a T-shirt bearing the logo. To learn more about orange shirt day, check out the website, http://www.orangeshirtday.org. T-shirts will be on sale that night.
The top five logos submitted to the HSD Orange Shirt Day Logo Contest have also been forwarded to the National Safe and Caring Schools Orange Shirt Day Logo Contest to be announced in September 2018.
National Indigenous Peoples Day goes June 21 at Confederation Park in Taber from 4-8 p.m. People are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the Taber Food Bank.
While the past cannot be changed, together we can create a new understanding of our shared history – this knowledge can lead to respectful relations for the future. This is one of the greatest hopes for the TRC, a growing reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
Reconciliation matters to all Canadians. As we explore with honesty a sad part of our past, we work to build a positive, courageous image of how we view our self as a country, and wish to be seen by the world community. – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada