First Nations celebrations
Annually, on June 21, Canada recognizes National Aboriginal Day as a way of celebrating the cultures, heritage and achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. This year the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) is bringing Aboriginal Day Live to Edmonton with a full day of musical performances, demonstrations and ceremonies.
“There’s so much to celebrate and so many people to recognize this year. We’re excited to bring this event to everyone from coast to coast,” says Lisa Squire, director of marketing at APTN. “It’s about having a conversation with all Canadians and being out there in the community in celebration. Making this a day about celebration and the achievements and how far we’ve come as aboriginal people and showcasing our talents. But in the spirit of reconciliation it’s open to everybody; we welcome everyone to be part of that.”
The lineup of entertainment begins with a Sacred Fire Ceremony by an elder who will be on-site all day tending to the fire until sunset. Once you’ve taken in the early-morning solstice celebration, you can wander around immersing yourself in Inuit, Métis and First Nations culture at one of the three experience sites. Be sure to explore the tipi village, taste traditional foods and learn about trapping before heading over to the main stage for a traditional round dance and pow wow.
The traditional round dance ceremony happens simultaneously across the country, making it Canada’s largest round dance ever. It will broadcast live at 11:24 am MST.
“We’re excited to do the round dance in solidarity with all the other cities,” says Squire.
The Aboriginal Day Live event started in 2007 and traditionally rotates through cities across the nation but this year, through Canada 150 funding and other major sponsors, APTN is hosting the live event on eight stages, with more than 70 performances across the entire country, including Edmonton. This is the second time the Aboriginal Day Live event is hosted in Edmonton, the first was in 2015.
“We wanted to bring it back to Edmonton in this commemorative year to celebrate this with Edmonton,” says Squire. “Within our Edmonton lineup we have local First Nations Inuit and Métis people who are taking the stage from all different genres and backgrounds.”
Aboriginal Day Live will be held at Victoria Park. Please note there is no on-site parking; however, there will be park and ride available with pick-up lots located at Remax Field, Windsor Car Park, and the Health Sciences LRT station.
Wed., June 21
APTN Aboriginal Day