A celebration of nations

Aboriginal Day fun starts early


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Anyone near The Forks on Saturday was in for a party, with a daylong celebration of everything indigenous to celebrate National Aboriginal Day.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/06/2015 (2779 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Anyone near The Forks on Saturday was in for a party, with a daylong celebration of everything indigenous to celebrate National Aboriginal Day.

Aboriginal Day is actually today, but Saturday was the day the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network sponsored events in Winnipeg.

Thousands of Manitobans and tourists, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, were drawn to The Forks. For many, the diverse crowd was the best part of the day.

TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS The Brown Bear Drum Group, made up of members from many communities, but all residing in St.Norbert, playing at The Forks, on Aboriginal Day, Saturday.

“It’s wonderful to see not just aboriginal people here, but people from all nations,” said Erica Daniels, a Cree woman from Winnipeg who is originally from Peguis First Nation.


“That’s awesome. It’s nice to see them experience our culture and its beauty.”

Australian tourist Peter Serisier said he and his wife were spending their last day of an extended trip in Canada at The Forks.

“It’s my wife,” the Australian said. “She’s very interested in aboriginal things in Australia, and I’m enjoying the dancing.”

A group of people in Mennonite dress took in the festival after a tour of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

“We spent most of the day at the museum, and now we’re just walking around,” said Leonard Isaac, who said the group was from Kleefield Holdeman Mennonite Church. He said they lucked out, because they didn’t know the festival was taking place.

The day kicked off at 11 a.m. with a cultural village.

It lasted until 6 p.m. and included a powwow and skateboarding competitions, samples of traditional foods, live art installations, children’s activities and information about efforts such as the Families First Foundation for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The organization held a blanket dance Saturday morning at the University of Winnipeg before moving on to The Forks for the afternoon.

With more than 10 blankets sewn together, the dance was touted as the largest one held in Manitoba and initiated the first fundraiser for the organization.

The Scotiabank Stage, along with a separate stage across from the mainstage, hosted a daylong talent show, with jigging, hoop dancing, jigging and throat singing.

Provincial NDP cabinet minister Kevin Chief spent the day giving live square-dance shows with the Norman Chief Memorial Dancers, named for his father.

An evening concert featured a lineup that included Manitoba fiddler Patti Kusturok, Alberta country singer Brett Kissel, Winnipeg singer Don Amero and Winnipeg country music group Federal Lights. The event was to wrap up after fireworks at 11:30 p.m.

National Aboriginal Day is not a statutory holiday. It’s celebrated on June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice and the longest day of the year.


Updated on Saturday, June 20, 2015 8:53 PM CDT: Updated story

Updated on Sunday, June 21, 2015 9:47 AM CDT: Updated story, new headline.

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