Wild Moccasin Dancers, seen here at the 2019 Fusion Festival, will perform during Surrey’s virtual National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration on Monday, June 21. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey’s National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration goes virtual Monday, June 21

Art, music and storytelling showcased in broadcast

  • Jun. 18, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Surrey’s National Indigenous Peoples Day virtual celebration is planned Monday, June 21, with a kids show at 10:50 a.m. and regular programming at 6 p.m., in a Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association-hosted broadcast on facebook.com/FRAFCA and YouTube.

The event will feature culture sharing, teaching and practice of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit families of Canada, through art, music and storytelling.

Performers this year include The Wild Moccasin Dancers (Shyama-Priya and David Whitebean), Stars of the North Drum Group (LaDonna Wiks-Joseph name by Wata), XiQuelem (Eugene Harry), Brown Bear Woman (Candace Hill Trevena), JB the First Lady (Nuxalk and Onondaga Nation), and Madelaine McCallum (Sukaskieskwew).

Typically held at Holland Park, the celebration has moved online this year due to the pandemic.

More details are posted to surrey.ca/NIPD.

Surrey is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the Semiahma (Semiahmoo), q̓ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ (Kwantlen), and q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) land-based First Nations.

“For me,” stated Harley Chappell, Semiahmoo First Nation elected chief, “the National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration and Wellness Event is a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate the diverse Indigenous cultures of these lands, as well as all others who have made this beautiful part of British Columbia their home.”

• RELATED STORY: Candlelight vigil in Surrey honours 215 Indigenous children.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a time “for all Canadians to come together to reflect and learn the rich heritage and culture of Indigenous People,” stated Mayor Doug McCallum.

“With the discovery of the mass burial site at the former Kamloops Residential School, it is also a somber event. It’s essential to learn and acknowledge this dark chapter of Canada’s history if we are to achieve Reconciliation. I urge everyone to take the time to mark this day by finding out more about the history, contributions and stories of the proud Indigenous People of Canada.”

At SFU Surrey, campus staff and faculty are bringing new small toys or shoes to place on one of 215 empty chairs set up in the campus mezzanine, at 13450 102nd Ave. The toys and shoes will be collected and donated to a local organization that supports Indigenous youth and children.

On June 21, the campus will host a drumming ceremony at 11 a.m., led by Ron Johnston, director of SFU’s Office for Aboriginal Peoples (OAP), and Gary George, the OAP’s officer for community relations, and featuring Kwantlen First Nation drummers Kevin Kelly and Michael Kelly-Gabriel. The ceremony will be livestreamed on sfu.ca.

• RELATED STORY: New ‘Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers’ seeks to ‘uplift and amplify’ voices

Meantime, a new Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers has been created in response to a call for accurate resources on First Peoples in Canada from an Indigenous perspective.

The 32-page guide was launched Tuesday (June 15) in a Zoom conference hosted by Surrey Local Immigration Partnership (Surrey LIP), the project lead.

“This resource provides information on the traditional protocols, histories, and current realities of Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit people in Canada, and addresses common misconceptions about the First People of this land,” says a news release posted to Surrey LIP’s website.

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