Charlene Bruised Head-Mountain Horse hosted the opening ceremonies in Lethbridge for National Indigenous Peoples Day.
She told the audience that when she hears the drumming and music of her people, she knows she is among family and people who understand her.
She’s the Indigenous Relations Advisor with the city and said National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrating culture and acknowledging the journey ahead.
“We really want to mark this day and move forward our ideas of reconciliation and put that into action and ensure that everyone is being respected,” said Bruised Head-Mountain Horse.
Dr. Adam Browning is the president of Lethbridge and area Metis.
He added that, for him, part of this day is ensuring Metis people have a presence within the city and to ensure progress is made in reconciliation for all Indigenous residents who call Lethbridge home.
“A third of our Indigenous population in Lethbridge is Metis. I rarely see our unique language, I rarely see our art, I rarely see our culture in spaces and that needs to be celebrated and acknowledged and that’s important for my community,” added Browning.
The University of Lethbridge encouraged its campus community to embrace National Indigenous Peoples Day. The school hosted a round dance to bring people together.
Read more: Canadians mark Indigenous Peoples Day
Lindi Shade with the U of L said events like this make students feel included and part of the greater community.
“I would believe that a lot of our Indigenous students feel a sense of pride and a part of that reconciliation in regards to not just Indigenous students on campus or the Indigenous staff but a lot of non-Indigenous staff are celebrating with us,” added Shade.
Lethbridge College unveiled a special scholarship for its Blackfoot students.
Lowell Yellowhorn with the college said five $1,000 awards are given to students who have participated in the preservation of Blackfoot language and culture.
“Lethbridge College announced the the Aiitsi’poyoip Blackfoot Speaking Award.
“It’s an opportunity for our students to preserve their Blackfoot language speaking abilities and give them opportunities to learn more — not only of the Blackfoot language, but the Blackfoot culture,” added Yellowhorn.
The city, college and university have events planned for the entire week, all the events and details can be found on their websites.