June 21st, 2018. National Indigenous Day. Today was very powerful. There was so much positive and friendly energy going around. There was so much pride and so many smiles. It was absolutely wonderful. The day started off at the Native Friendship Centre where there was a pancake breakfast, the opening ceremony and traditional dancing from various First Nations groups. It was beautiful! After, there was a Friendship walk where we walked from the Friendship Centre all the way to Trout Lake. This was one of the most powerful moments of the day. I was overcome with so many emotions. I was proud of my identity, just like all the other First Nations people around me. "It is a good day to be Indigenous" was chanted by people. Everyone was together and united. While we were walking down Commercial Drive, we were visited by an eagle flying above us. Everyone cheered and hollered. It was spectacular!
|Friendship Walk along Commercial Drive|
At Trout Lake, there were so many activities. There was a stage where Indigenous performers (from all over) played music. There were numerous kids activities from making buttons, dream catchers and medicine pouches to listening to stories from elders. There were canoes on the lake and lots of food trucks. It was a great celebration for all ages. There were many booths where people were selling a variety of items from paintings, to moccasins, to jewellery to natural medicines... I bought some beautiful earrings and a new tote to add to my collection! Yay! There was also a mini powwow which was delightful to watch. It is beautiful to see the different generations dancing together (during the intertribal dances).
Another beautiful moment happened during the powwow when we witnessed a young boy in regalia teach another boy how to dance. The boy in the regalia was the only one in his category (junior boys). He stood in front of everyone by myself ready to dance until this other boy came in to join him even though he was not familiar with powwow dancing. He went out onto the dancing floor and tried his best with help from his new friend. Together they continued on dancing, only stopping at times when moves were being taught. The crowd watched and cheered them both on! This moment to me signifies what this day is all about: coming together and enjoying each other's presence. It is about building up those friendships, allies and families. It is about sharing experiences and learning from one another. It was a beautiful, memorable day.