June 21, 2014 7:27 pm

First Nations based paper launches during National Aboriginal Day

REGINA – Despite the rain, Wascana Park was buzzing with activities Saturday to celebrate National Aboriginal Day.

The day began with a drumming song to bless the ground, which is one of many traditions honoured.

Brett Friday, a Piapot First Nation Dancer who performed at the event, said there’s strong symbolism attached to attire worn during the dances.

“As dancers, we try and dress up whatever we can because the animals that we do wear, they don’t just want to be a plain animal. They gave up their life so we can wear them.”

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While it was a day of festivities, there was also room to raise awareness on issues plaguing First Nations communities.

The publisher of a community-based paper, Mervin Brass, launched Treaty 4 News during the celebrations.

“We want to go into the heart of the First Nations communities,” he explained. “People need to know that the First Nations people are not just a bunch of stereotypes, that, in fact, there are a lot of good things happening in the communities.”

Organizer Dickie Yuzicapi said while there are challenges, June 21st is meant to recognize the successes.

“This is the day that we share our culture. We tell stories, we show our outfits, our dances. We just share our culture with everybody, of all walks of life.”

National Aboriginal Day was first officially celebrated in Canada in 1996.

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