Where to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in Richmond

Thursday, June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day and Richmond will host several events over that weekend in celebration.

On Saturday, June 23, head to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery for festivities put on in partnership with Connections Community Services Pathways Aboriginal Centre. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the outdoor celebration will highlight local Indigenous artists, music, dancing, crafts, resource and activity tables and a bannock bake-off.

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Opening ceremonies will begin at 1 p.m. at the main stage, with several performers to follow. The bannock bake-off will begin at 2 p.m. in the pavilion.

Additionally, a free public art bus tour will take place from 12:30 until 2 p.m., beginning at the Cannery by the Steveston’s Legacy sculpture. Tarah Hogue, Indigenous curatorial fellow at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Shaun Dacey, director of the Richmond Art Gallery will guide the bus tour to visit public artworks by contemporary indigenous artists across the city. The tour is free but seats are limited and requires registration. RSVP to publicart@richmond.ca and include your name and telephone number.

Finally, and also on June 23, the City of Richmond is hosting an event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at City Centre Community Centre with Coast Salish art, a poetry reading, music, dancing, prayers and a preschool-aged traditional singing circle. Terry Point, cultural educator from the Musqueam First Nation will offer a traditional welcome.

Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau changed the name of what used to be National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, bringing Canada in line with the United Nations’ use of the word in international discussions.

For Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, the change was a welcome one.

“I believe this small change is part of a larger movement towards recognition and acknowledgement that these lands are the homelands of Indigenous nations and cultures,” National Chief Perry Bellegarde said in a press release following the change.

“On behalf of the entire Assembly of First Nations, staff, and AFN Executive, I wish a peaceful and joyous National Indigenous Peoples Day to peoples from all walks of life.”

Some groups are calling for the day to be recognized as a national, statutory holiday.

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