First Nations art and culture will flow through West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park this weekend as the North Shore community comes together to commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day.
The District of West Vancouver, in collaboration with Squamish Nation, is hosting a COVID-safe event on Sunday (June 20) at the beach, a day ahead of the 25th annual National Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday (June 21).
The day falls during National Indigenous History Month, a month-long celebration of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples culture that was first introduced in 2009, as a way to educate, connect and promote reconciliation in Canada. Prior to this, in 1996, National Indigenous Peoples Day was declared, with the date of June 21 chosen to coincide with the summer solstice and the start of berry-picking and fishing season.
To mark the day, on Sunday, an art and canoe adventure workshop will be held at the beach, where Skwxwu7mesh artists will share traditional art forms with the community, and activities suitable for children will shine a light on languages, cultures, and the immeasurable contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, said the district.
Registration is still open for the event, where families can learn about wool weaving and woodworking techniques and have the opportunity to paddle through the traditional waters in the West Vancouver Police Department’s canoe, Ch’ich’iyuy, and the Integrated First Nation Unit canoe, Sema7maka, while sharing stories of the area.
“I am excited and honoured for the district to partner with the Squamish Nation in a celebration of the heritage, culture, and achievements of Indigenous peoples,” Mayor Mary-Ann Booth said in a statement.
National Indigenous History Month
This year, National Indigenous History Month is dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind, and the survivors of residential schools, after the discovery of the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the territory of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people," Booth said. "It’s important to learn more about and recognize the historical truths of Indigenous people in Canada and the grief, trauma, and loss caused by Canada’s colonial system.”
The district said Sunday’s event is planned in accordance with all Provincial Health Orders and will be adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
Families are invited to pre-register, as space is limited, or drop in for art workshops at the beach in Ambleside Park throughout the day on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.