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Music and more for National Indigenous Peoples Day

Start-of-summer event begins Friday at noon at Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park

Summer officially arrives with the solstice Thursday afternoon but the celebration in the park doesn’t happen until Friday.

National Indigenous Peoples Day festivities start at noon Friday at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park and the entertainment lineup promises something for everybody to enjoy.

There will be no shortage of music, dancing and drumming on the stage.

Community groups will connect with visitors at information booths set up around the park next to artisans marketing their handiwork, with a wide assortment of food vendors lined up to fill your belly.

Local artist Kym Gouchie will perform selections from her latest album, Shun Beh Nats’ujeh: We Are Healing Through Songs.

The day also features singer/songwriter Dani Lion, a Vancouver artist with family ties to the Dakelh people of Prince George.

Singer/songwriter harpist/guitarist Mimi O’Bonsawin is the closing musical guest, and she will end the park celebrations at 8 p.m.

O’Bonsawin’s contemporary roots music draws from her Franco-Ontarian and Abenaki First Nation influences in northeastern Ontario and her visit to Prince George comes about a month following the release of her latest album, Live In Concert.

“This event will really show off Indigenous talent as well as professional touring artists and it will show Prince George is a place that really reflects upon and appreciates the Lheidli T’enneh nation and their contributions,” said NIPD event organizer Katherine Benny.

“The music is diverse, so it will be something for everybody. They’re not super-long sets, so if you don’t like alternative rock music give it 20 minutes and there will be someone else. There’s lots to take in.”

The Old Fort Traditional Dancers will also be featured on the Kiwanis Bowl stage.

Displays in tents set up on the site will reveal some of the historical significance of the region’s first human populations, focusing on their past, present and future in Prince George.

A volunteer booth will be set up on the site if you would like to help.

The Exploration Place, the museum at the south end of the park, is planning a few surprises for visitors and Origins Kitchen will be serving up gourmet treats, including their popular scones, from the menu.

Summerlike weather is moving into the city starting on Tuesday and Friday’s forecast high is expected to reach 26 C. The Rotaract waterspray splash pad will be open for everybody to cool their heels on a hot day.

Originally known as National Aboriginal Day when it started in 1996, the name was changed to National Indigenous Peoples Day in 2017. It is a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

The opening two hours of the event, from noon-2 p.m. will be livestreamed on the Lheidli T’enneh YouTube channel.

The entertainment will continue later Friday evening at the Omineca Arts Centre at 369 Victoria St.

More information is available on the Lheidli T'enneh website.

Major sponsors include UNBC, College of New Caledonia, Canadian Tire, City of Prince George and CN Rail.