Cold Lake First Nations holds vibrant Indigenous Peoples Day celebration

The day featured ceremonies, a fish fry, barbecue, door prizes, storytelling, and dances. The community came together to celebrate and honour Indigenous heritage.

Daniel McLaughlin, media coordinator for Cold Lake First Nations, highlighted the event's inclusive nature. “It's Indigenous Peoples Day, so we brought everybody together from the entire surrounding community. All the different groups, we call it First Nations, the Métis community - come out and celebrate Indigenous culture,” he said.

He also emphasized the broad scope of the celebration, stating, “We just want to bring everybody together. So Indigenous is a fairly broad term, there's a lot of members of the community all over the place, varying degrees of nationhood in some areas, and across the communities.”

Over the years, National Indigenous Day celebrations appear to be growing.

“The first year was just a small little barbecue, and then the second year it was much larger, and the third year it was even larger. Every year it's just a bigger and bigger event for us.”

McLaughlin expressed pride in the diversity of the event, noting, “It gives us an opportunity to highlight all of the different Indigenous communities. Earlier today we had powwow dancers, we have the fiddle players and dancers out today. There's a few native dance theatre performances. So, we've got a broad range of all the different Indigenous groups in the area coming together.”

The event ended with a round dance.

“We want everybody to experience Indigenous culture in all forms of it, in all parts of it. So, the more people we get out, the more fun we can have. Indigenous cuisine... and everything that's going on, there's something for everybody. It's quite a diverse day.”

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland was in attendance and expressed his support and appreciation for the event, saying, “We're just really honoured to be a sponsor but also involved in celebrating Indigenous nature and celebrating First Nations and Métis peoples not only across Canada but especially in our local area. The entertainment's been fantastic, the food is outstanding, and it's all about everybody coming together, celebrating our culture.”

Phyllis Collins, community services director at Elizabeth Métis Settlement, echoed the sentiments of community and celebration.

“It's so good to see everybody joining in and sharing culture and traditions. I've just enjoyed the day and each other's company. I'd like to say thank-you so much to Cold Lake First Nations for hosting this year after year. It's such a show on for everybody,” she remarked.

Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lakeland This Week