After two years, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation will be officially hosting National Indigenous People’s Day (NIPD) celebrations on June 21.
The event was cancelled in an official capacity for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is now coming back for an all-day event at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.
It will feature everything from drumming, singing, Elders stories, displays, kids' activities and food.
“We are going to make sure it’s going to be one of the best ones yet and something to remember so the stage lineup is pretty packed and stellar,” said 2022 NIPD event manager Jen Rubadeau.
This year the schedule is also planned with cultural activities and live entertainment going all the way from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. in the evening.
“Typically, NIPD ends around four or five o’clock but to get that after-work dinner traffic for those people who have to be at work during the day we are staying open until 7 p.m.,” said Rubadeau.
School District No. 57 (SD57) is also participating in the events and will be bussing in students from throughout the district to partake in the celebrations.
“I think it’s around 8,000 students that are coming so it’s pretty incredible. We are really looking forward to having the park filled with youth during the day and having the adults and families come in the afternoon and into the evening,” added Rubadeau.
She said there will also be learning opportunities for Elders to share stories and teach language.
“It has been two years since we’ve had fun, so we want this to be a celebration for First Nations and other cultures that are going to be there,” said Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan.
“Our Nation is thrilled to be able to host a NIPD celebration this year and bring people together again to celebrate history, traditions, and importance of Indigenous nations and communities to Canada.”
She said National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity for everyone to gather, and celebrate Indigenous culture and traditions but mostly it’s a day to have fun.
“This year SD57 is going to be bringing the kids so we plan on having fun and what is more fun than food, dancing, music and kids,” said Logan.
“There’s going to be a ton of vendors, so people selling their crafts and wares, but also delicious food so there’s going to be the aroma of all the yummy things you want to eat and lots of bannock so that is always a huge hit,” added Rubadeau.
“On the stage, you are going to hear music, you are going to smell smudging ceremonies, and hear the jingle of dancing and that will be through the entire park.”
Rubadeau said they are also organizing a lahal – which is a traditional game also known as the bone game – where the objective is to win sticks by guessing where the unmarked bones are in the opposing team's hands.
“So, it is really trying to invigorate and put as much cultural fun into the event as we can and infuse it with language and learning,” added Rubadeau.
She said the organizers are still looking for sponsorships, vendors, and volunteers so anyone who is interested can find more information on the National Indigenous Peoples Day Facebook Page.
The whole thing will take place on June 21 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park and everyone is welcome.