Celebrations for this National Indigenous Peoples Day have reached an important turning point in Terrace, uniting the Kermode Friendship Society with other organizations, including the City of Terrace, to offer a more unified and welcoming celebration for all.
“We didn’t really come together in the past,” Calvin Albright, Kermode Friendship Society’s executive director. “This is the start of us coming together on an important day, improving on it and making it a really good event for everybody.”
The days-long event will kick off Thursday, June 21, in Brolly Square from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a free barbecue and hula-hooping demonstration by Coastal Mountain Hoops owner, member of the Haida nation, Kimberly Leighton-Santosfrom who offers classes in Terrace.
On Saturday, June 23, celebrations kick into high gear. The day begins with a free city-sponsored screening of Incredibles 2 at Tillicum Theatre. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with the movie starting 30 minutes later.
Afterward, the attention will fall on George Little Park at 1 p.m. with welcome addresses from chiefs and elected officials followed by an afternoon packed with activities, including face painting, traditional dancing, music both traditional and modern, vendors and food (including the crowd favourite from the Metis community, bison burgers). Donated prizes from local businesses will also be drawn and handed out.
The big draw of the day will be a closing headline performance by signer/songwriter George Leach, a Stl’atl’imx from Lillooet, B.C., known for his blusey roots and latter integrations of classic rock, R&B and soul balladry. Leach is the recipient of many awards in his career, including a 2014 Juno for Aboriginal Album of the Year with Surrender. Listen to the full album ongeorgeleach.com.
On June 25, Leach will step down from the public stage and lead a fun but inspirational workshop with students in the Coast Mountain School District on the importance of a highschool education. This event is closed to the general public.
Overall, Albright expects a rewarding celebration this year, saying the inclusion of other organizations has helped carry a one-day event into a more pluralistic setting.
“We all work and live together in this area. We’re the original inhabitants in this territory and continue to share it with everybody. So this is just something to acknowledge the people that live here, and also for the non-Aboriginal community to come out and really socialize and be together. It’s a good day. It’s really important for the [non-Indigenous] community to see some of the good things that are happening in our community.”