Connecting to Culture – Celebrating National Aboriginal Day

By Janet Adamana, Marketing & Community Outreach Assistant

One of the highlights of being the Marketing & Community Outreach summer student is having the opportunity to get out into the community, explore this great city and connect with my fellow Manitobans.

As June 21st marked the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, crowds of Winnipeggers came together to celebrate. This National day gives Canadians the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the country’s rich heritage and traditions.  I was out and about at the North Centennial Recreation Centre to take in all their National Aboriginal Day festivities.
IMG_20160621_125524There was everything from traditional drums and pow-wows, to kids’ crafts and an Aboriginal crafter’s market. At the crafter’s market I met Sylvia, who creates beautiful handmade and hand-carved beaded jewelry. Many of her pieces were made from hematite, a.k.a. the Stone for the Mind or Blood Stone. Sylvia has been making these pieces for several years now and informed me that these stones were used for healing by Indigenous peoples. Make sure to stop by and say hi to Sylvia at the APTN Aboriginal Day Live vendor market this weekend.

I also got a sample of Manitoban Aboriginal writers and their stories through Winnipeg-based publishing company,IMG_20160621_124952 Indian Life Ministries, and learned about local organizations like the Aboriginal Senior Resources Centre – a non-profit organization supporting the health of Aboriginal seniors and Elders. All-in-all it was a great afternoon with back-to-back performances, educational booths and kid-friendly fun.

For anyone who didn’t get a chance to celebrate on Tuesday, it’s not too late! The city will be jam-packed with a variety of celebrations taking place all weekend. Here’s just a few to check out.

Summer Solstice Ceremony at St. Amant – Thursday, June 23 | 2 pm
All week the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has been hosting events around town as part of their Indigenous Cultures Awareness Week. Today they’ll be at St. Amant hosting a Summer Solstice Ceremony.

National Aboriginal Day Celebrations at Mount Carmel ClinicFriday, June 24 |12:30pm – 4pm
You can start off the weekend with Mount Carmel’s community feast, and take a stroll through the Indigenous art and craft market. The event also features performances by Tom Dutiaume, Inuit throat singer, Nikki Komaksiutiksak and a keynote presentation by Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, Professor and Native Studies Department Head at the University of Manitoba. Stay for the closing Prayer and Round Dance at 4.

APTN’s Aboriginal Day Live at The ForksSaturday, June 25 | 11am – 11pm
This is Winnipeg’s biggest National Aboriginal Day event, and one you definitely don’t want to miss. It’s an entire day full of free family-friendly activities including APTN’s Kids’ Zone, Aboriginal Day Live Pow Wow and a Skateboard Competition for teens. The evening kicks off at 7 pm with live entertainment. Catch acts like A Tribe Called Red, folk singer Kristi Lane Sinclair and a spectacular close out show by Buffy Sainte-Marie with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The celebrations end with a sparkling fireworks show.

To find out more about National Aboriginal Day and celebrations going on across the country visit, the National Aboriginal Day webpage.

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