June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day
To mark the occasion, we're honouring the heritage, cultures and contributions to society by First Nations Peoples.
Pride of a Nation
“This photo depicts a young dancer at the 2019 Grand River Pow Wow in Brantford, Ontario,” shares Marlon Porter of Mississauga. “I took the picture while on a mission to learn more about my own Indigenous roots because, although I am an African minority, I am also of Mohawk decent.
This photo represents Canada to me because of the pride and strength that this young man silently embodies as he looks over his tribe. His beautiful traditional dress, along with the slight tilt of his head, exudes confidence and displays the power that a community can share when brought together to celebrate in song and dance.
On any other day, this young man would be dressed in regular clothes and be indistinguishable from you or me. But on this very special occasion, he has suddenly transformed into a vision of a Canadian hero.
Through attending this event and snapping this picture, I learned the importance of embracing my heritage; I have developed an even deeper appreciation of the Indigenous community and Canadian culture.”
Carving Out a Legacy
“This is Leo Gagnon, a Haida carver living in Old Masset on Haida Gwaii,” says Bruce Raby of Perth, Ontario. “It was shot in his workshop located behind his house. The markings on his face are for his role in a full-length movie shot entirely in the Haida language. It was written, directed and performed mainly by Indigenous Peoples. The movie, Edge of the Knife, made its public premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. The mask he’s holding was carved from a piece of wood taken from a Sitka spruce on Haida Gwaii, with golden coloured needles. This tree was considered sacred by the Haida People; to learn more about its whole fascinating history, click here—I’m sure you will enjoy this great Canadian story.”
“This dynamic performer was competing against dancers from across Canada in the Peguis First Nation Annual Competition Pow Wow,” writes Gail Marchessault of Winnipeg. “Peguis hosted well-attended competitions for men, women, teens and tiny tots as part of their Treaty Days celebration in July 2019. Dancers put a lot of care into their elaborate regalia. This dancer decorated his with beadwork and colourful ribbons. Moccasins on his feet and a feathered headdress add to the beauty and meaning of his dance. Pow wows are an important celebration of Indigenous culture, history and identity. Located about 190 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Peguis is the largest First Nation community in Manitoba with a population of approximately 10,000 members of Ojibway and Cree descent.”
Next, check out 10 Indigenous authors you should be reading.