Happy National Aboriginal Day! Today we celebrated Canada's Indigenous Peoples at Trout Lake. It was a beautiful event on the lake that hosted many Indigenous vendors, artists, and musicians. The intricate artwork and jewelry the vendors were selling were amazing to see up close - such detail and care! One of my favourite artworks that I saw that day were some beautiful button blankets made by a wonderful Haida Elder. Before I started teaching in my practicum, my class was learning about salmon and the importance of them in Haida culture. As an activity, they created their own button blankets with a salmon design on them. They turned out amazing and the students were really proud of them. It was quite special to see an authentic button blanket in real life after doing this activity in my class. They are so beautiful and I can appreciate the care and time it takes to create them.
It was an incredible experience to see Indigenous peoples being celebrated, honoured, and supported in our community. I was trying to describe my experience to a friend later that day and I had a difficult time putting into words the vibes and the feelings that radiated from the park that day. It was a powerful feeling of community - people greeting one another, embracing each other, meeting new people, being proud of who they are and what they created. It was a sincere honour to be a part of it. I couldn't help but think about how happy everyone looked, how this is what their everyday lives may have looked like if settlers had not come, and what a tragedy it is that this event only occurs once a year. I left with mixed emotions - National Aboriginal Day is a step towards reconciliation but it is not enough. I am eager to participate, learn, and above all, listen, to ways in which we can move forward on our path to reconciliation.
I went to participate in National Aboriginal Day in Musqueam on Unceded and Traditional Territory of the Musqueam people. The pride my community demonstrated is quite an honor being part of a strongly connected community. The morning started out with a Honoring our Elders Ceremony, for elders born in the 1940's. The guests in attendance are witnesses to the ceremony, and Musqueam's recognition is part of teaching traditional cultural protocols about respect for elders to all people.
Learning about the cultural events that take place in the community are extremely important learning opportunities for our Musqueam youth. Children of all ages are constantly reminded of who we are as Musqueam people through culturally significant events. Community gatherings provide the ability of Musqueam people to show the collective cohesiveness, and how we all come together to teach, instill, share and make meamingful relationships. A fresh seafood lunch, music, games, and information tables allowed for many opportunities to engage in various activities throughout National Aboriginal days events in Musqueam. We learn everyday and we continue to learn constantly throughout our lives.