Baker twins to host Indigenous Peoples Day event

Friday's National Indigenous Peoples Day events bring together an array of Aboriginal talents to the stage. There is no more symbolic a gesture to the First Nations connections of this region than having the famed Baker twins act as masters of ceremonies.

They were born in Prince George, their family is well connected to this city, but they are fiercely Stellat'en, invited to preside over today's cultural ceremonies by the host Lheidli T'enneh First Nation.

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The Baker twins split their time between Los Angeles and Vancouver where they are dually ensconced in the fashion and film industries on both sides of the border. Shauna and Shannon are not identical, but they have paralleled each other into the heart of Aboriginal show businesses.

They carved time out to fly quickly home for today's event.

"It's nice to be able to come back and represent our community because we don't get to do that often, back home," said Shauna.

"We get to talk to other native communities across Canada and the United States but we rarely get asked to talk to our own people, or represent our own people to our own people, so it's nice."

The girls laughed about how their two days in Fraser Lake got pounced on, when word got out that they were back for a summertime visit. They return to home territory almost every year but it is usually in the winter.

"Shannon and I are actually speaking at our old school," said Shauna.

"I heard they were playing my movie, Raven Tales (an animated family movie directed by Caleb Hystad depicting First Nations legends), so I offered to stop by and meet the kids. And all our teachers that taught us are still there at Mouse Mountain Elementary School in Fraser Lake."

It's not all fun and games, though. The Baker twins have used their name brand and their own individual passions to push for progress, culturally and politically. Before jumping in the car for the trip to Prince George, they made sure to attend a meeting of the Stellat'en chief and council, and they didn't intend to be passive.

"I came back to the rez and found out the band's bought an asbestos-ridden building," said Shannon.

"Back in the day when I lived here, everybody knew that those apartments had asbestos. Our band recently, behind closed doors, spent a lot of money buying those. So we'll be going to the band meeting before we go to Prince George. So, band politics, and talking to kids at school."

They even had plans to go for a hunt with their mom, Sharolise, but one of them hastily grabbed the wrong luggage in Los Angeles and brought only city clothes. Such is their duality - ultra glamour and rural rustic.

They couldn't get out onto the game trails but they have been busy on the career paths. Sometimes their projects are done together, and sometimes it's a part for one of them, but neither is bored.

Both got to be in the vampire horror short-film WiHM9 Blood Drive: Blood Bus last year.

Both have roles in the upcoming civil war-set drama The Red Man's View.

Shauna was cast in the short-film Checkpoint C and the television movie Hey Cuzzin, both soon to be released.

Shannon has the lead in an as-yet undisclosed project that is currently securing a distribution deal.

"We have a new TV show called Future Proof that will soon be out on PBS. It is basically a comedy tech show co-hosted with Lucas Brown Eyes, and that was a lot of fun," they said.

They are also heavily involved in the voyeuristic video game-playing sector with regular live-streaming appearances as gamers on the Twitch game-viewing platform.

With all of their personal imaging platforms combined, the Baker twins have well more than a million followers.

This has turned them into official "influencers" which enables them to market themselves as experiential advertisers for companies wishing them to be seen utilizing their products, attending their events, and other endorsement opportunities.

This event, National Indigenous Peoples Day at Lheidi T'enneh Memorial Park, is all for their personal love of their home region and the friends and family they so rarely get to see in summer months.

They will be the on-stage hosts today throughout the park's slate of entertainers and cultural activities.

It is free, family-focused, with static displays and workshops as well as music and dancing, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. before the attention shifts to Canada Games Plaza at 7 p.m. when the event continues on in the form of the Heatwave Festival.

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