Langara celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day with three full days of festivities from June 20-22, 2017. The event was organized by Co-op student Jimmy Aitken, who studies business at Langara, and helped out with the event last year. The event was funded by Services for Aboriginal Students.
“Sharing, Witnessing and Community, sum up our National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations at Langara College. Seeing the children from Langara’s daycare dancing like Eagles and Killer Whales will stay with me. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this transformation at Langara. Hych’ka!” says Aitken.
This year, the Main Foyer was transformed into an artist market where the Langara community could peruse goods and sample traditional foods. Attendees were treated to performances including the Haudenosaunee Social Dance, Jingle Dress dance, and Fancy Shawl dress. They also had the opportunity to attend workshops to make dreamcatchers and medicine pouches. Current Elder-in-Residence Mary Jane Joe also led a traditional smudge for interested parties.
“National Aboriginal week at Langara…We hear the drums, we taste the bison and salmon and we share laughter and history. We also remember who inhabited these lands prior to European contact and we celebrate peace and reconciliation together,” says Mary Jane Joe, Elder-in-Residence.
“One of the goals for this year’s celebration was for the Langara community to experience Aboriginal culture. It was truly inspiring to see community members from 3 years of age and up excited to participate in the range of events offered like storytelling, dancing, food tasting, carving and smudging. I am honored to work for an employer that actively supports the tenets of Truth and Reconciliation through action and example,” says Reba Noel from Services for Aboriginal Students.
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About National Indigenous Peoples Day
National Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly National Aboriginal Day) is recognized each year on June 21 (the approximate date of the summer solstice) to celebrate the contributes of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. For generations, Indigenous peoples and their communities have chosen the summer solstice to celebrate their culture and heritage. On Jun 21, 2017, Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced the name would officially change to National Indigenous Peoples Day.