Sunday, June 13, 2010

National Aboriginal Day Celebration at Dovercourt (Friday, June 18th)

On Friday June 18th, aboriginal drummers, dancers and storytellers will converge at Kiwanis Park outside Dovercourt to begin their celebrations of the June 21st National Aboriginal Day. This family-oriented event is sponsered by Hintonburg's Odawa Native Friendship Centre (ONFC), Dovercourt Recreation Centre and several other native service organizations.

This is the 2nd year at the Dovercourt site but this year Odawa is expecting bigger crowds.  Local schools are encouraged to attend as part of their end-of-year field trip roster.

At least 45 people of native, metis and inuit desent will participate. Metis dancers, inuit throat singers and circle dancers are just a few of whom you can expect to see. Pinock, a traditional woodworker and birch bark canoe maker from Maniwaki will be showing tradition tools, furs and possibly a tipi. Terry McKay of Port Simposon B.C. will lead the opening and closing prayer and share traditional storytelling. Greg Moekis will play the big drum and the women's hand drum group will also be on hand. The Inuit Community Centre will be demonstrating inuit crafts and Dion Mecalfe, a local inuit man who made headlines for turning his life around, will be demonstrating inuit games.

The sampler menu, provided by Wabano will include three sisters soup (with corn, beans and squash), wild rice salad, bannock and strawberries.

According to 2006 census data Kitchissippi's 35,000 population includes just over 1000 people with aboriginal origins - or about 3%, slightly above the city's average. The City Of Ottawa as a whole counted approximately 30,000 of aboriginal origin in its total population. Unlike other cities such as Winnipeg the aboriginal population is quite scattered and less visible. Ottawa's aboriginal population is growing quite dramatically and over half of all aboriginal people are young..

June 21st was first designated National Aboriginal Day in 1996 by then Governor General Romeo Leblanc, after requests from the Sacred Circle and the National Assembly.  The day is designed to encourage Canadians to learn about and celebrate the contributions of native, metis and inuit Canadians.

To those organizing the event, Meegewatch. It means "thank you"

(Above, the Odawa emblem found above the main door at the Native Friendship Centre, b elow: a beaded medicine bag that my son made at the event last year)