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VIDEO: Performers awe crowds at 2019 Indigenous Cultural Festival

Dancers and singers from First Nations across B.C. gather in Victoria

A celebration of B.C. First Nations culture returned to Victoria this weekend.

The 2019 Victoria Indigenous Cultural Festival provides a unique and special opportunity to connect with and learn about the incredible cultures of B.C.’s First Nations peoples – from stunning song and dance performances to demonstrations of weaving and drum-making.

READ ALSO: WATCH: Thousands gather for National Indigenous Peoples Day at Royal Roads University

“What’s happened in the last while is, our people have put ourselves into a position to say, ‘okay we know what’s happened in the past, but we have to look to the future,’” said George Taylor, festival organizer. “That’s the way I look at it. The only way we’re going to be able to do things together is to we have to do it in support of one another.”

Taylor, of Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, says festivals such as this one play an important role.

“The festival is very, very well known throughout the province now and people come from the U.S.,” he said. “I think it’s so important because our people, at one point in time, were not allowed to speak our language, were not allowed to practice our culture and we had to go underground. Now we are in the position where we celebrate together.”

Held in partnership with the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, the three-day festival kicked off Friday – National Indigenous Peoples Day – and ran until Sunday outside the Royal BC Museum.

Visitors took in smudge ceremonies, storytelling, drum-making and cedar-weaving demonstrations, not to mention traditional dancers and singers from across B.C. including the Answer Womens Drum Group, Homiss Family Dancers, South Island Singers and Dancers, Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, Spakwus Slolem dancers and more.

READ ALSO: International conference to boost Indigenous languages comes to Victoria

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