Lethbridge celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

The City of Lethbridge has a full day of events happening on June 21 to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was first announced in 1996 by former Governor General of Canada, Romeo LeBlanc. The summer solstice is significant for many Indigenous cultures, as it is the longest day of the year.

The City will be hosting various Indigenous singers, dancers and drummers at Galt Gardens from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Along with the entertainment, there will be an Indigenous artisans market for people to purchase handmade items from local vendors.

Echo Nowack, the Indigenous relations specialist for the City of Lethbridge, says this celebration will be a great opportunity for people to learn about the culture.

"I think obviously it's good to come and celebrate but it's [also] to understand our culture for our allies and those that don't really know about Indigenous history or Indigenous culture," said Nowak.

For people to learn more about Indigenous culture there will be two blanket exercises hosted by Wendy English. These interactive exercises will help participants see Canada's history through an Indigenous lens. One will be held at 1:30 p.m. and is intended for youth, another one for adults will be held at 5 p.m.

For active children, the Lethbridge Sport Council will be having lacrosse demos with a mini game to follow.

Food is a significant part in Indigenous culture and there will be no short of it during the celebrations. Starting at 12 p.m. there will be a free community feast sponsored by the Interfaith Food Bank. There will also be fry bread for purchase with the proceeds going to the Interfaith Food Bank.

Galt Gardens isn't the only place you will find celebrations happening. Fort Whoop-Up will have free admission along several activities to check out.

BuffaloMech, a digital art installation created by students from the university, which explores Indigenous technologies will be displayed June 21-23.

There will also be $5 wagon rides, Napi stories in the tipi, hide tanning demos and bannock hot dogs served.

Helen Schuler Nature Centre will be hosting hands on activities to learn more about plants native to Lethbridge.

Nowak encourages anyone who has questions to just ask, there are many resources open to questions.

"If you want to learn more come come and ask. Just talk to somebody, have a conversation. We have a lot of resources. We have the Friendship Center is always hosting various events. The Galt Museum, the Fort. We have the Blackfoot resource hub. They're open to anybody in the community that wants to learn more," said Nowak

The full list of activities happening can be found on the Reconciliation Lethbridge Facebook page.

, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald