National Indigenous Peoples Day in Calgary: a chance to heal, remember and celebrate

Click to play video: 'National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated in Calgary'
National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated in Calgary
WATCH: National Indigenous People Day was marked in Calgary with a full day of events meant to celebrate Indigenous culture and remember past trauma, even as Canadians look for a new path towards reconciliation. Doug Vaessen reports – Jun 21, 2024

National Indigenous Peoples Day was marked with many special ceremonies and events across the city of Calgary.

The day began with a reconciliation walk to the recently renamed Confluence.

The day is meant to celebrate Indigenous cultures, remember past traumas and to heal, according to Janis Weasel Bear, who said she had a father and aunts and uncles who had to endure residential schools.

“I am here today because this is really significant to me personally, being part of the landscape. And having my grandsons here we are raising. And I think this action is really incredible for moving forward: reconciliation.”

Click to play video: 'Calgarians unite for 15th annual Walk for Reconciliation'
Calgarians unite for 15th annual Walk for Reconciliation

Catherine Nichols Gunn, Sir John A. Macdonald and John G. Diefenbaker schools also shared in renewing their truth and reconciliation commitments.

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Nevaeh Saddleback, a Grade 11 student at John G. Diefenbaker, said she and her grandma made her first ribbon skirt to mark the occasion

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“Because of the residential schools there has been a lot of generational trauma, so I think it’s really important today to say that we are still here.”

While raising a traditional four pole Blackfoot teepee, Garret C. Smith said the day is a chance to share and invite people to learn about his culture.

“The idea to come together and build community is something that has been part of our principles since we signed treaty. And that is really what this is kind of about. It’s really about looking past our initial traumas and to just be able to engage in our culture and spirituality and celebrate.”

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