Indigenous People's Day celebration returning to Participark

·2 min read

After two years, once again, the people are going to be surrounded by the four sacred elements of earth, fire, water, and air on June 21.

This year, the National Indigenous People's Day celebration is back to offer a stronger understanding of the First Nations communities. There was no in-person event for the past couple of years due to the pandemic-related restrictions.

A variety of activities are scheduled for the event being held at Participark.

“The only change we anticipate is the weather, for we cannot control what the sky will bring us,” says Tristan Ashishkeesh, the executive director of The Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre.

The day's schedule is:

The committee welcomes everyone to the drug- and alcohol-free event. Ashishkeesh is also asking people to maintain a safe distance from each other to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to wash their hands.

Ashishkeesh is very optimistic about the event schedule. He suggests bringing an umbrella and some rubber boots if it rains.

"Even in the rain, we can make the day bright with some shared laughter and a kind smile to one another,” he said.

A very excited Ashishkeesh says he feels “honoured to be able to bring this day together for the Omushkegowuk and Anishnaabe peoples in Timmins.” However, when the whole community is celebrating the occasion, he remembers the victims and their loved ones of the Residential School Institutions.

"It is sad that Canada thought of them as stories and needed proof to acknowledge these losses,” he says. “It gives me some comfort to know that mother earth has kept them safe in her embraces as they were laid in the ground.”

He also remembered the time when the government outlawed the celebrations in the past. As a result, the community had to conduct secret gatherings. He is happy that "these days we are able to openly celebrate as it should be.”

The message he wants to send this time is straightforward, "You bring your kindness to our celebration."

Also reminds the public that even if there are minor changes in the schedule,” go with the flow and enjoy the day. Creator will bless us.”

Jinsh Rayaroth, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com

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