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Hundreds beat the heat for National Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous EventsHundreds beat the heat for National Indigenous Peoples Day

Several hundred community members came out for a day of fun in the sun for the Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre’s (BRISC) National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at Earl Haig Family Fun Park on Friday, June 21, 2024.

The event was held in collaboration between BRISC, Brantford Native Housing, Woodland Cultural Centre, Métis Nation of Ontario, Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg, Child and Family Services of Grand Erie and the City of Brantford.

Kevin Hamilton, Riley Kennedy and Jordan General from Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg pose for a photo during the Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre’s (BRISC) National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at Earl Haig Family Fun Park on Friday, June 21, 2024.

Shelly Hill, Executive Director of BRISC, said the day was all about spending time together and celebrating the Indigenous peoples and their ways of being.

“With June being National Indigenous History month it’s very much about the past, present and future; It’s our ancestors that brought us this far to who we are in the present and so it’s up to us to carry that on for future generations,” she said. “Today’s event is really about bringing families and communities together to just enjoy the day and it’s in tribute to who we are as Indigenous people. It’s honourable to be here and to bring everyone together to show that we are still here and we’re resilient; it’s a proud day for our nation and who we are, and that’s why we celebrate.”

Families lounge in tubes as they make their way down the lazy river during the Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre’s (BRISC) National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at Earl Haig Family Fun Park on Friday, June 21, 2024.

During the nine-hour event, families of all ages took the opportunity to beat the heat and cool down in the park’s pool, lazy river or splash pad. Back on dry land, others took the chance to engage with the many service organization booths for program information, free swag or to partake in several crafts.

Haudenosaunee singers ‘The Blazes,” take part in a drum circle during the National Indigenous Day celebration on Friday, June 21, 2024.

The event also featured plenty of entertainment with performances from Haudenosaunee singers ‘The Blazes,” big drum group “The Little Creek Singers,” and Keith Silver, as well as several dance performances. Frank McNaughton was also on site sharing traditional stories.

“We have some great service organization booths set up here and we have some vendors with a little bit of crafts going on as well,” said Hill. “It’s all about engaging with our culture and so as part of that, we have our Haudenosaunee singers here singing social songs and dance and we’ll be having a big drum group coming here to come and share some various powwow style songs later in the afternoon. We also know that people will be working up an appetite through the day so we had pizza for lunch and shortly we’ll be serving up some indian tacos for dinner.”

Elena Hill-Harrison goes for a swim down the lazy river during the National Indigenous Day celebration on Friday, June 21, 2024.

For vendor Tanya Jacobs, owner of Tanya’s Dream Catchers, she said that the event was a great chance to take her family out for a free event and enjoy all that her Indigenous community has to offer.

“I just like being out with my community and the kids and seeing the resources available to us now,” she said. “It’s nice to have somewhere to celebrate in the city instead of just being on the reserve, you know? We’re a community and we’re only going to work if we work together so it’s nice to see people and families coming out in an urban space, we should have more days like this.”

Tanya Jacobs, owner of Tanya’s Dream Catchers, poses with one of her many dream catchers during the Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre’s (BRISC) National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at Earl Haig Family Fun Park on Friday, June 21, 2024.
Jefferson Jacobs and Shawna Richard were all smiles as they served up watermelon during the National Indigenous Day celebration on Friday, June 21, 2024.
Joslyn Johns and Caitlin Wicketts pose for a photo during the National Indigenous Day celebration on Friday, June 21, 2024.
Visitors partake in a jewelry craft during the Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre’s (BRISC) National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at Earl Haig Family Fun Park on Friday, June 21, 2024.

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