“In a year where people have connected back to nature and the outdoors, celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day is one more step towards understanding Indigenous Peoples’ connection and passion for the land and all of the original stewards and keepers of the territories across Canada,” said Mixalhítsa7 Alison Pascal of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) in a release.
“We are growing from a place of intrigue and appreciation back to a sustainable life with mother earth, and our human existence.
“Culture is medicine, and National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the cultures that the SLCC Ambassadors work so hard to reclaim, preserve, and share.”
NIPD falls during National Indigenous History Month, a month-long celebration of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples’ culture that was first introduced in 2009, as a way to educate, connect and promote reconciliation in Canada.
Prior to month-long event, in 1996, National Indigenous Peoples Day was declared, with the date of June 21 chosen to coincide with the summer solstice and the start of berry-picking and fishing season.
This year, National Indigenous History Month is dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind, and the survivors of residential schools, after the discovery of the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the territory of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
HOW TO HONOUR NIPD IN WHISTLER
Here are several events you can take part in today and on June 21 to learn more about our local Nations and reconciliation, taking place in Whistler village, which is on the shared, unceded territory of the Lil’wat People and the Squamish People. Whistler was originally known as Cwítima (Lil’wat) and Sk̲wik̲w (Squamish).
• Today (June 20) at 1 p.m. the Spiritual Warriors Band plays live at the SLCC. This local band performs most of its songs in U’cwalmicwts and is passionate about preserving and promoting the language and Lil’wat culture.
• Drop by Whistler Olympic Plaza, between 1 and 5 p.m. for activities with Indigenous and non-Indigenous hosts, featuring art activities, information, and conversation about pathways and actions for Reconciliation (June 21).
• Enjoy the story-telling art of Squamish Nation hereditary Chief Ian Campbell from 12-5pm at the Maury Young Arts Centre (on-going).
• The Spo7ez Performance Team Drum Circle will be at Whistler Olympic Plaza at 4 p.m. (June 21.)
• 215 wooden orange hearts will be displayed between Maury Young Arts Centre and the SLCC to honour the unmarked graves of the children recently uncovered at the former Kamloops Residential School on the territory of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
• The bridge along the Fitzsimmons Connector will be lit-up in orange from June 21 to July 1.
• Free admission to the SLCC on June 20 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Free bannock at the SLCC on June 21, all day.
For full programming details visit slcc.ca. Funding is made possible thanks to the Province of British Columbia’s Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT Hotel Tax) revenues collected in Whistler. All events to follow COVID-19 protocols.
-With files from Elisia Seeber, the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative
LEARN ABOUT ECONOMIC RECONCILIATION
Pique’s sister publication Business in Vancouver, will be hosting an online seminar on June 21 to explore how B.C. business leaders can meaningfully advance reconciliation.
Hosted on NIPD, the event celebrates the launch of BIV's inaugural Indigenous business magazine, Mákook pi Sélim. Ten prominent business and political leaders, advocates and community builders will each share their vision for economic reconciliation in British Columbia, and a big idea for how it can be fostered.
•Former Nasukin Sophie Pierre, Ktunaxa Nation
•Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations
•Chief Don Tom, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
•Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit
•Chief Joe Alphonse, Tŝilhqot'in National Government
•Chief Commissioner Celeste Haldane, BC Treaty Commission
•Dr. Judith Sayers, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
•Merle Alexander, Miller Titerle + Co.
•Dr. Kim Van der Woerd, Reciprocal Consulting
Elder Ann Whonnock will open the event with a land acknowledgement and traditional greeting. Chastity Davis-Alphonse, founder of Chastity Davis Consulting and editor of Mákook pi Sélim, will host the discussion.
This virtual event, sponsored by Vancity and GCT Canada, will be hosted over Zoom on Monday, June 21 from 12-1 p.m. Registration is free and required.