Tuesday , 21 March 2023
National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations at the Centennial Centre on Tuesday.

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations take over Lakeland

The Lakeland celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day with several events on Tuesday.

In Bonnyville, the Friendship Centre hosted events at the RJ Lalonde arena, with the elders leading in a pipe ceremony in the morning. The festivities continued with a free BBQ, as well as opening ceremonies, with several dancers and three dance groups.

Students from local schools attended the afternoon’s performances.

“It’s for Indigenous people to show their pride and their culture and to let other people see,” said Lauri Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Bonnyville Friendship Centre on the day’s significance. “The dancers are just phenomenal and they are just gorgeous to watch.”

Primco Dene hosted a BBQ at the Casino Dene parking lot Tuesday during the noonhour with bannock burgers.

“We’ve got a lot of people from our community, a lot of our companies from Cold Lake First Nations and they’re all out here today to support the good thing that is Every Child Matters, as well as Indigenous Day. Just to come together in good spirit,” said James Blackmon of Primco.

Music and powwow dancing was a part of their celebrations, as well as suiting up visitors with free t-shirts.

“It’s just bring cultural awareness to Indigenous people, especially our community. We like to promote good things for our community as best as we can,” said Blackmon.

Cornerstone Co-op hosted a drum group and dancers from Onion Lake on Tuesday afternoon to acknowledge and celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.

“It’s a lot to do with Truth and Reconciliation and getting to know them a lot better. In our history there’s been lots of difficult things and we want to help bring us into the future and working together.

“Our music is about bringing people together. It’s mostly healing.”

In St. Paul, the Mannwanis Friendship Center held a Friendship Walk, amongst other activities.

Gathering around 3:45pm at the Landing Pad, those in attendance walked to Lions Park where there were drummers, traditional and Metis dancers, and vendors with Indigenous works.

The band Country Storm provided live music as well.

Friendship Walk. Image credit: Mannawanis Friendship Centre.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.