National Indigenous Peoples Day is being recognized across Canada on Tuesday, including in Guelph.
Riverside Park will be having an in-person event on Tuesday in recognition of the day.
The event will be emceed by Adrian Harjo and feature music, dancing, stories and more.
Stephen Jackson is the CEO of Anishnabeg Outreach in Guelph. As an Indigenous person, he said he’s proud to see other cultures celebrating together.
“It’s what I’ve been working towards for the last four years at Anishnabeg Outreach. It’s cultures coming together to embrace it, to understand it and to participate in it,” Jackson said.
He believes that being together and working together is how they achieve a different outcome.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is for Canadians to learn and celebrate the heritage, culture and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
Anishnabeg Outreach is a not-for-profit organization, with locations in Guelph and Kitchener, that provides Indigenous people with access to services that are culturally appropriate and strive to help and direct individuals to overcome barriers.
Through its programs and initiatives, the organization puts an emphasis on Indigenous people and their culture.
“I think everything that we do is designed to do proactive work,” he said. “It’s the healing that’s probably the most important piece because without healing you really can’t work, your family situations can be abusive and your relationships can be toxic.”
Jackson said with healing, you’re able to put trauma behind you and work toward the future.
Among the initiatives offered at Anishnabeg are an EarlyOn Centre, employment and job training, mental health management system and a multi-sports program.
The event in Guelph is being organized by local First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders with support from the city’s Museums and Culture division. The day also coincides with the summer solstice.
He said it’ll give friends and families a chance to connect following the COVID-19 pandemic and allow people to celebrate in a number of ways.
“I’m so thankful that events like this are available for those that want to connect with family and friends or make new family and friends,” he said.
Jackson added the Outreach Centre will also be holding a barbecue on Tuesday afternoon with their staff and community partners. Visit the Anishnabeg Outreach website to learn more.
The event at Riverside Park will start at 5:30 p.m.