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National Indigenous Peoples Day to be celebrated throughout area

People in Grande Prairie are gearing up to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. On and around June 21st, a number of events will be going on to celebrate the culture and heritage of the Indigenous Peoples, including one hosted by the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre.

Executive Director Miranda Laroche says they will be holding a two-day event featuring a barbeque, mini round dance, speakers and a movie screening that all kicks off on Friday.

“We are going to have opening ceremonies with the mayor reading the proclamation for National Indigenous Peoples Day at 5 o’clock. We’ll also [hear] words from our National Association of Friendship Centres Vice President Kelly Benning as well as our President Joseph Redhead.”

A showing of the movie The Grizzles will happen the following day at Grande Prairie Live Theatre. Along with those events, a number of schools in the area over the last week have also been hosting dances, traditional lunches, games and classroom activities.

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National Aboriginal Day was first created in 1996 as a way for Canadians to recognize and celebrate the heritage, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. In 2017 it was renamed National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Laroche says it’s more important than ever to share the good parts of the culture, especially with the recent release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report.

“We are people that give freely of our culture and teachings to people who are interested and I think that as Indigenous people we are rich in culture and it’s nice to be able to show people the positive pieces of Indigenous people.”

The Friendship Centre’s event will start at Muskoseepi Park at 5 p.m. on the 21st.

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