Local First Nations organizations

Aboriginal Day celebration a first for Langford

National day spotlights First Nations culture, people

Regardless of what your background is or where your ancestors are from, you are invited to come for lunch on Monday at Veteran’s Memorial Park for Langford’s first Aboriginal Day Festival.

“Times have changed. I am glad our communities are celebrating together,” said Beecher Bay First Nation Chief Russ Chipps. “We have always been working together and now we are doing it publicly.”

Entertainment at the festival includes First Nations dance groups, poetry, artisans and a dunk tank. A fundraiser barbeque, snow cones and silent auction will help generate funds for next year’s festival.

“We wanted to host this festival so we can celebrate while building relationships and working together,” said Linda Lucas, executive director of the Langford-based Indigenous Perspectives Society. “We can’t work in isolation, and celebrating with organizations of various backgrounds will strengthen us all.”

Staff from the society came up with the festival idea and found partnering aboriginal organizations to help organize and execute the event.

“We are so happy to be a part of this festival and to be a part of Langford,” said Kevin Albers, CEO of M’akola Group of Societies. “M’akola provides housing to more than 100 families and elders in Langford and this is an exciting event for all of our tenants, staff and the rest of the Western communities.

“M’akola’s presence in Langford continues to increase as we relocate our provincial head offices from Victoria in early 2016,” he added. “Celebrating and acknowledging National Aboriginal Day where we live and work is important and meaningful to us all.”

Other organizations partnering in the event include Métis Family and Community Social Services, Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services, Hulitan Family and Community Services Society, Métis Nation of Greater Victoria and Nil/tuo Child and Family Social Services.

“This is a day for all of Canada to celebrate and recognize the unique culture we have in Canada and here in Langford, too,” said acting mayor Lillian Szpak, Langford council aboriginal liaison. “I am going and I’m looking forward to delicious food and great entertainment.”

The Aboriginal Day Festival happens June 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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