Guest post by Alison Tedford, a freelance writer and digital marketer from Abbotsford. She is a mom and is a proud member of Kwakiutl First Nation.
National Indigenous People’s Day is coming up on June 21, and there are so many great ways to celebrate in the Lower Mainland. National Indigenous Peoples Day used to be known as National Aboriginal Day and the date was picked to line up with summer solstice. It was first announced in 1996 and was renamed in 2017. Metro Vancouver has always had vibrant celebrations on this day and this year is no exception. PS: All celebrations are free!
Five great events to honour National Indigenous Peoples Day
Here are some ideas of events you can check out to experience Indigenous culture and celebrate. Events take place on June 21 and 22.
National Indigenous Peoples Day, New Westminster
Friday, June 21 from 10 am -2 pm
Head to Moody Park for live cultural performances, storytelling, traditional arts and crafts and more. Enjoy performances by Urban Kwakwaka’Wakw Group (West Coast Dance Performance), Uzume Taiko (Drum Group), Ronnie Dean Harris (Hip Hop Artist), Butterflies in Spirit (Contemporary Dance/Hip Hop), Ache Brasil (Brazilian Capoeira), and Smokey Valley (Pow Wow Dance Group.)
National Indigenous Peoples Day, Vancouver
Friday, June 21, most of the day
Enjoy a pancake breakfast at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre from 9-11 am (1607 East Hastings Street) and participate in a friendship walk from the Centre to Trout Lake Park.
Then from noon to 5 pm at Trout Lake Park, dig into free bannock courtesy of Mr. Bannock while supplies last. Check out performances by Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Dancers, Orene Askew aka DJ O Show, Sandy Scofield, Dylan Rysstad, Wolf and the Raven, Rex Smallboy, Road Engine Dreams and Murray Porter. There will be food trucks galore.
National Indigenous Peoples Day, Surrey
Friday, June 21 3 pm – 8 pm
Holland Park is hosting a big celebration for National Indigenous People’s Day with games, crafts, sports, activities, sports, food to sample, performances on stage, cultural learning opportunities and a wide variety of exhibitors.
National Indigenous Peoples Day, Maple Ridge
Saturday, June 22 from 10 am to 2 pm
Come on down to Memorial Peace Park for storytelling, dancing, drumming, art exhibits, crafts, food and traditional activities. Among the performers will be singer Rea Dawn, Hoop Dancer Jane Wilie, Community Services Children’s Drum Group and more. A bannock cook-off will be happening, there will be food vendors and Indigenous artisans.
National Indigenous Peoples Day, Fort Langley
Saturday, June 22 from 10 am to 5pm
Fort Langley National Historical Site will be hosting their celebration with cultural presentations, activities, storytelling and more. Come for Metis jig workshops, a traditional plant workshop, bannock-baking or a guided tour.
If you’re planning to be out of town, don’t despair! There is a huge interactive map of all the festivities happening nationwide that you can explore. If you can’t make it out to an event, you can always watch festivities live from the comfort of your home. Whichever event you find yourself at, Happy National Indigenous People’s Day and have a great time! Don’t forget your sunscreen and water bottles!