Tribes set to host biggest event since NAIG

Children and family is the focus of Thursday’s National Aboriginal Day celebration. -
Children and family is the focus of Thursday’s National Aboriginal Day celebration.
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Children, family and community will be the focus when the Cowichan Tribes celebrates National Aboriginal Day on June 19.

“I am hoping this event will uplift our community and that we will gain strength by coming together,” said Chief William Chip Seymour. “I look forward to a day of good food, good company and good times.”

And in that spirit, the chief has agreed to take his turn on the hot seat in the dunk tank.

In addition to the dunk tank, there will be a variety of activities, including: bouncy castles, mechanical bulls, pony rides, kids games and an opportunity to build bird houses. The Adage Dance Studio will  demonstrate Zumba dance moves and the tribes’ local hip hop group will perform.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend the free event, being held at the Cowichan Tribes Recreational Fields, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

National Aboriginal Day, which is officially June 21, celebrates the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across the land. It’s an occasion for all Canadians to celebrate the rich contributions Aboriginal people have made to Canada.

The day of recognition came about after a series of calls for such a celebration. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be celebrated on June 21. Slightly more than a decade later in 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that a National First Peoples Day be designated.

The day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by former Governor General Romeo Leblanc.

“It’s the largest event of its kind that Cowichan has hosted since the North American Indigenous Games, so we’re really pushing for a successful gathering and a great day for the community in general,” said Celina Albany, treaty communications co-ordinator with the band.

“This Aboriginal Day we are promoting  culture, physical and mental health,” said Judith Gohn, director of the Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre. “We have many physical activities planned, as well as traditional storytelling and games. We’ll be hosting a BBQ for all attendees. We are looking forward to a gathering of our friends and relatives at a positive event to share food, laughter and culture. There will be activities for all ages; we hope to see you there.”

The First Nations Health Authority is donating $5,000 towards the event.


Your ticket

What National Aboriginal Day gathering and BBQ

When: June 19, 2014, 10:30 - 4 p.m.

Where: Cowichan Tribes Recreation Fields, 5574 River Road, Duncan


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