It’s official: You are cordially invited to the Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration, hosted by the Indigenous Action Committee. On June 22nd from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., Memorial Park in Stouffville will be alive with activity, including musical and dance performances, traditional ceremonies, crafts, food, drinks, and so much more. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. This is an evening for everyone to enjoy, from all different backgrounds and ages, come rain or shine… complete with seating and onsite tent for shade (in the event of the former) and rain cover (in the event of the latter).
Since 2017, Indigenous Peoples Day has been a nationally recognized holiday, and is the first in a series of Celebrate Canada days. It is a day to celebrate the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis indigenous peoples of Canada. “Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for everyone to come together in a good way, to honour the original caretakers of this land, to celebrate Indigenous history and culture, and to do so in solidarity, as one,” says Ashley Bergman, co-founder of the Indigenous Action Committee. “We want to showcase our incredibly talented community, customs and traditions in as many ways as possible, so we have a jam-packed evening planned to do exactly that!”
The Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration will feature a beautiful opening ceremony, and will include a sacred fire and tobacco ties for offerings, a traditional big drum and drum group, and traditional dancers. Guests will be treated to live contemporary music performances from community members Painted Sky, Erna Winter Crittenden, Wildhorse, Magically Hip (a Tragically Hip tribute band), and more. There will also be Indigenous vendors, crafts for the kids, door prizes, food vendors, free frybread tacos (also called NDN tacos) and strawberry juice while supplies last, as well as Jimmy Treats’ ice cream truck. There are simply too many wonderful events and activities planned to list, and since vendor applications are still open, there are likely to be even more by the time the opening ceremonies kick off. (If you are a vendor interested in applying, check out the Indigenous Action Committee’s website for details.)
The Indigenous Action Committee believes that we are always stronger together, and this Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration in York Region will reflect that by bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members through this experience-based celebration. Ashley Bergman says, “To be able to showcase our culture, our language, our traditions, customs and talented community in this beautiful way means everything to us. Not only does it help our community to heal, but it helps to restore a strong sense of pride amongst our people.” In recent years, the tragic and painful history of Indigenous peoples in Canada has finally become open discourse, and there has been a powerful effort to change the trajectory of the Indigenous peoples from one of oppression to one of truth and reconciliation. It is imperative that Indigenous cultures be recognized and celebrated through allyship, which is what the Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration hopes to foster.
No matter who you are or where you come from, you are invited with warm welcome to be a part of this change. Come and attend the Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration at Memorial Park this Thursday, June 22nd from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and connect to Indigenous culture by experiencing the beauty of this rich and robust heritage.
2 Park Dr., Whitchurch-Stouffville