Hundreds of people gathered on Tuesday at the Green of Wartry Village to directly celebrate National Indigenous Day for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago.
The day began with a sunrise at 6am, followed by an afternoon in the green, featuring songs, dances, food, vendors and community service providers.
“It’s been a long time since the blockade, and it’s great to be here and enjoy with everyone here, celebrating, dancing, singing, food, everything that comes with this pow wow.” Said Jason Smith.
“Everyone’s … positive energy, positive vibrations, and seeing everyone’s smiles without wearing a mask to have a good time. That’s all. Just get together and have a good time.”
The annual Day, held on June 21st of each year, was first recognized in 1996 as a way to celebrate the contributions, culture and heritage of the people of First Nations, Inuit and Metis.
Events are being held nationwide to commemorate the day, including the Society of American Indians, Atrosa Family Healing Services, Namelind Friendship Center, Aboriginal Health Access Center in Southwestern Ontario, and a city-sponsored rally in southern London.
“I’m looking at kids, neighbors and families that I haven’t seen in a long time. There’s so much growth that has happened in the last few years and it’s crazy,” said Lacy Jackson of London’s Nshwaasnangong Child Care & Family Center. Told.
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“I think the last few years have been really amazing for everything,” Jackson said. “That is, there was 215 (Unmarked Grave) in Kamloops at first, and it’s been increasing since then. But overall, our community is very growing and very positive changes are happening. I think that there.
“I think many of us indigenous peoples in the city didn’t have the opportunity to do so, especially with Nshwaasnangong and the ability of these children to grow in their culture. I think that there.”
This year will be seen in a new light, after further discoveries of unmarked burial sites on other former housing school sites in other states, following the discovery in Kamloops, British Columbia. ..
Ontario has more unmarked burial sites than 12 identified by the Truth Commission, which recorded the abuse of indigenous children and the deaths of more than 4,000 children in housing schools. He said he thinks.
The state has allocated millions to investigate the burial grounds of residential schools, and earlier this month the federal government became independent to connect the indigenous community dealing with the discovery of unmarked graves with the federal government. Appointed a special interlocutor.
For Sierra Jamison, a jingle dancer and Thames donation activist, being able to attend the event on Tuesday “absolutely means the world to me.”
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“It’s very crazy to think that there are still people out there who can listen, learn, listen, and hear the truth,” Jamison said.
“I’m very happy to see the results. I love all the young people here who are willing to join among the tribes who are willing to talk to us. Our community is really me Knowing that we have our backs is really, really heartwarming. “
Jamison says he grew up watching Pow Wow dancers, was “fascinated by exercise and regalia,” and self-taught. She grew up in London, she says she suffered from racism and sexism.
“I decided it was time to stand up as an indigenous woman and show that we were more than just racial stereotypes.”
Jamison says he started dancing at the Turtle Island Healing Walk last year and says that taking responsibility for healing the community requires a lot of emotional, mental and physical.
One of her grandmothers was part of the housing school system and the other was part of the scoop of the 1960s. Indigenous children were taken away from their families in the 1950s and 1980s to care for indigenous peoples.
“You are pushing a lot of boundaries with them, and especially in the 215 news that happened last year, it was time for Canada to wake up and for us to understand what the government and the church are. “She said.
“My mother actually told me that it was one of the reasons I stopped intergenerational trauma in my family … that voice, which young people respect and become like that. “Hey, it’s okay to learn our culture, and it’s okay to be proud of who we are.” It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever received. “
Among the vendors I had on Tuesday was Three Sisters’ Beadwork, a small business run by three indigenous women from three different countries.
“I’m personally from the Six Nations of the Grand River, so it’s in the immediate vicinity of Brantford, Kylie is from Atika Mekshen, and Amber is from the East Coast, so she’s Mi’kmaq,” says Mary Capton. I did.
“We are basically named after the three sisters planting methods (corn, beans, squash). Their planting methods are very cooperative and very intertwined with each other.”
Capton says the launch of the business approached last year’s discovery of an unmarked tomb in Kamloops. The three have launched a fundraiser to sell orange shirt pins, raising about $ 1,500 for a campaign by the Woodland Cultural Center to “save evidence” and restore the former Mohawk Institute’s housing school.
“This year we are moving towards indigenous climate change. That’s the way we started working on it. When we’re doing them and it gets a lot of traction, we Thought, “You should start a business.” Amber suggested a name, and we were just starting from there, it was really just a grassroots, “Capton said.
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Like Jackson, Jamison, and Smith, Capton said it was great to be able to go back to the community and see people again following the pandemic.
“It’s really great to be back in the community after a lot of new people, a lot of community networking, especially a pandemic, because it’s a very core foundation of many indigenous communities,” Capton said.
“Being in culture, being in the community, connecting with each other … It’s great to have those conversations and meet people again.”
According to the city, London is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Howdenosauny, Luna Apeewak and Ata Wandaron. The treaties specific to this area are:
- Haudenosaunee Union / Silver Covenant Chain Two Row Wampum Belt Treaty
- Beaver hunting ground under the 1701 Howdeno Sawny NANFAN Convention
- 1790 McKee Treaty
- 1796 London Township Convention
- 1827 Huron Treaty with Anishinaabe
- A dish served with a spoonful of covenant wampam from the Anisina Abek and Howdenosauny tribes.
— Use files from The Canadian Press
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