National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in Terrace featured live music, local vendors selling their wares, a bannock competition and activities for children like face painting, tug-of-war and a bike parade at George Little Park on June 18.
Lisa Lawley of the Kermode Friendship Society that sponsored the day’s events said the day was about celebrating Indigenous culture together, learning and building unity between people.
“It’s a nice day to get out and have some fun and get to know First Nations people around Terrace,” Lawley said.
“It’s giving people the opportunity to know who we are as Indigenous people. We’re celebrating that we’re still here.”
Lawley said this year does take on special significance in light of the one year anniversary of 215 unmarked graves being announced by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
Those preliminary findings at the Kamloops burial ground prompted a national reckoning as unmarked graves continue to be confirmed across Canada. Lawley said what followed has been a turning point for First Nations people, who are now being taken more seriously in Canada.
“As Indigenous people we’ve been saying this for many years and no one has been listening. The world finally woke up.
“Now the world is awake. It’s not about us saying ‘shame on you people.’ It’s about asking you to come be in allyship with us. We all need to heal together so that we can move forward in a good way. ”
Lawley was glad to see the number of non-Indigenous people who participated in festivities.
“Getting people to come out and getting people who are non-Indigenous to come and enjoy the day with us is really important to us,” she said.
“If you’re wanting to learn more about Indigenous people just come and ask, come and take part in activities that we do. Everybody is welcome.”
Also present were Skeena Bulkley-Valley MP Taylor Bachrach and representatives from the City of Terrace. MLA for Skeena Ellis Ross was under the weather and couldn’t attend.
The Tillicum Twin Theater sponsored screenings of “Light Year” and “Jurassic World Domination” that morning. The City of Terrace hosted a free swim event at the aquatic center in the afternoon.
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