“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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.