Prince Rupert set for National Aboriginal Day celebration

Dancers from a variety of nations will be performing on Tuesday. - File photo
Dancers from a variety of nations will be performing on Tuesday.
— image credit: File photo

On Tuesday, June 21, communities all over Canada will partake in National Aboriginal Day, a day held in recognition of the incomparable contributions Aboriginal people have made with the development of Canada as well as to celebrate the rich and diverse culture.

In Prince Rupert, there will be a number of things going on at the Rotary Waterfront Park (or if the weather doesn’t permit, the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre) from noon until eight p.m. to celebrate the occasion including speakers, dancers, music, food, displays and more.

“We are really looking forward to the 13th annual National Aboriginal Day...We had great support again this year,” said School District 52’s District Principal of Aboriginal Education Debbie Leighton-Stephens, who is organizing next Tuesday’s event with fellow Aboriginal Education Council members, the City of Prince Rupert and the Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert.

The event will begin at noon with a number of speakers including Mayor Jack Mussallem, Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald, and MLA Gary Coons.

Throughout the day there will be several different dance groups performing, starting with the Lax Kw’Alaams Tribal Dancers who will be performing at 12:45. Other groups dancing will include the Sugigyet Dancers at 2:15 and the North Coast Ceremonial Dancers at 4:30 p.m. The final group to dance will be the Kwe Uglis Dancers at 5:45 p.m.

Additionally, there will be a number of musical performers that are sure to keep people entertained. Local Jaime Aubee will be the first musical performer, showcasing her vocal talents at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Pineridge Drummers at 2:00 p.m.. Jason Burnstick, who is a Juno and Jessie Richardson Award nominee, will be traveling to Prince Rupert to perform live with his arrangement of different music styles including blues and folk music. Burnstick will do two different sets, the first at three p.m., and again at 6:30 p.m.. The Hartley Bay Gospel Singers will be coming to Prince Rupert to do a set starting at four p.m. Then at 5:15, local Charlie Carlick will be performing.

Leighton-Stephens said that not only will Tuesday’s event be enjoyable for the entire family, it’s also an opportunity to bring all members of the community together.

“National Aboriginal Day is for the whole community, not just Aboriginal people. We really want to stress that. It’s about building relationships. We live in a small community so we need to live together and get to know one another,”  explained Leighton-Stephens.

Volunteers are still needed for the event. for tasks such as set up and take down, handing out programs, clean up, , etc. Anyone wishing to lend a hand is encouraged to contact Debbie Leighton-Stephens at 250-627-1536 ex 222.

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