A June 21 event at Royal Roads University includes host of activities as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Royal Roads University/Facebook)

Indigenous peoples celebrated at Royal Roads

June 21 event includes host of activities as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day

Royal Roads University will embrace and celebrate the culture and lives of those who were here long before us on June 21 with a host of activities and events as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Lekwungen (Songhees) and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) First Nations will co-host the celebrations at RRU on the traditional lands of their ancestors and families. The day of celebration will officially get underway at 10:30 a.m. with a traditional canoe landing protocol and welcoming ceremony on the shore of Esquimalt Lagoon led by Lekwungen Elder Butch Dick and Elder Elmer George. Lekwungen Singers and Dancers and Answer Drum Group will perform as well.

That will be followed by the stage opening and a salmon lunch at noon. A canoe challenge, children’s field games, craft workshops, fry bread stations, and a vendor’s market will run from noon until 6 p.m.

Other highlights include an interactive Metis showcase including Tipi and Trappers Hut, a story walk, and traditional plant walks on Charlie’s Trail along Colwood Creek with Elder Kenneth Elliott and Tsawout Elder Earl Claxton Jr. The Esquimalt Singers and Dancers, Red Buff Powwow Group, Hannah Gentes, Leslie Gentile, Aurora Finkle and Ed Peekeekoot are scheduled to entertain. Activities will conclude at 7 p.m.

READ ALSO: Exploring First Nation languages in B.C.

B.C. Premier John Horgan, Deputy Premier Carole James, and Education Minister Rob Fleming will be in attendance. Horgan and James, will join Doug Caul, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Asma-na-hi Antoine in the canoe protocol. RRU President and Vice-Chancellor Philip Steenkamp, who is taking part in the canoe protocol as well, will speak on stage at noon.

More than 2,000 people attended the event last year, which has grown through support from partners, sponsors and hundreds of volunteers.

Limited parking is available, so organizers encourage the public to take public transit, or walk or cycle to RRU along the Galloping Goose Trail. On-campus transportation between event locations is available for Elders and guests who need assistance.

The event is a collaboration involving Esquimalt Nation, Songhees Nation, RRU, the University of Victoria, Camosun College, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Island Metis Family and Community Services Society, Indigenous Perspectives Society, ISPARC, Metis Nation of Greater Victoria, Power to Be, Sooke Family Resource Centre, Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Vancity Credit Union and West Shore Parks and Recreation. The co-hosts want to express their gratitude for the partnership with the BC Government Employees Union, First Nations Health Authority, RBC Bank and Simply Pure Ice & Water.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


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