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Kelowna, B.C. celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Click to play video: 'Kelowna Celebrates National indigenous Peoples Day' Kelowna Celebrates National indigenous Peoples Day
IF you were in downtown Kelowna today you may have heard drumming echoing through the streets. As Sydney Morton tells us, it's all part of the Turtle Island Festival for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

A celebration of life, Indigenous culture and the summer solstice called the Turtle Island Festival has taken over Kelowna, B.C.’s Leon Avenue to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day.

“It’s a celebration as well as keeping the stories alive and keeping our culture alive,” said Freda McLean, one of the organizers of the block party.

“Culture has been extremely important for our survival, and [for] our community’s survival.”

To preserve that culture and empower the next generation, the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre’s Youth Programming coordinator is running one of the many vendor booths to raise funds for the program.

Read more: Okanagan Indian Band to host grand reopening of cultural arbor

“It’s important to empower Indigenous youth because they are the future leaders of Indigenous generations,” said Brayana Petti, youth programs coordinator at the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society.

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“We try to offer different things like workshops to promote entrepreneurship. We also offer different art therapy programs as well as a land back program, where they get out on the land and learn about hiking and backpacking and all that.”

Vendors line the block selling beaded creations, hand-carved works of art and activity booths for kids where they can tattoo a rock, do arts and crafts and hear a story in the Tipi.

Read more: Okanagan Nation Alliance run completed to raise suicide and violence awareness

“It’s to show everybody else our culture. The mini powwow is my favourite part of this and watching the little ones dancing is dear to my heart but it’s to showcase our culture, the change of seasons and it’s a time of food gathering for our people,” said McLean.

Many who attended the day-long event wore orange in honour of the Indigenous children who did not return from residential schools.

Click to play video: 'Communities across Canada mark National Indigenous Peoples Day' Communities across Canada mark National Indigenous Peoples Day
Communities across Canada mark National Indigenous Peoples Day

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