The National Aboriginal Day Planning Committee did it again, hosting another successful Aboriginal Day celebration on Thursday, June 21 at the Rotary Waterfront Park in Prince Rupert.
The event started at noon, with a number of guest speakers starting off the celebration. Guest speakers included Hereditary Chief James Bryant, Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem, MLA Gary Coons, Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald, School District 52 trustee Louisa Sanchez and Superintendent Lynn Hauptman, Aboriginal Education Council co-chair Marlene Clifton and Aboriginal First Nations Kaien Island Elder Murray Smith, who are both members of the planning committee, and Kevin Leach from the Friendship House Association.
Hundreds of people showed up throughout the beautiful sunny day to observe a number of excellent entertainers. Students from the Aboriginal Headstart program, the Roosevelt drummers and Roosevelt kindergarten classes showed some cultural dances they’ve been learning, as well as the Sugigyet, Haida Eagle and Gitmaxmak’ay dancers displaying their talents. Locals Jaimee Aubee and Charlie Carlick provided some solo entertainment, while groups Longhouse and the Boss Blue Band offered some rock tunes. Out of town artists also entertained audience members. Sto:lo singer and songwriter Inez Jasper shared many of her contemporary hip-hop and R&B songs, with Nuxalk/Cayauga Nation hip-hop artist JB the First Lady performing twice throughout the day. Both Jasper and the First Lady spoke inspirational words to the audience, sharing their experiences and the importance of staying true to your cultural.
Communities all over Canada partake in National Aboriginal Day, a day held in recognition of the incomparable contributions Aboriginals have made with the development of Canada, as well as to celebrate the rich and diverse culture. The Governor General proclaimed June 21st as National Aboriginal Day back in 1996.