June 21st marks National Indigenous Peoples Day, and in the City of Grande Prairie, the National Indigenous Day Committee has planned four days of celebrations meant to educate people about Indigenous culture. Committee member Lindy Beauchamp-Chester says they’ve earmarked June 24th to 27th to honour the four directions and what they bring to Indigenous people.
In addition, there will be seven sacred teaching sites throughout the city, which Beauchamp-Chester says will have information booths representing love, respect, honesty, wisdom, truth, reconciliation, and humility. She hopes the booths will help raise awareness of Indigenous culture and traditional ways.
“We want them to learn about the issues that impact Indigenous people since contact. One of the things that I’m really proud of about being an Indigenous person is that our community is so welcoming and we really foster an environment where people can learn and they can ask questions.”
“We want people to connect, we want them to learn about organizations, the calls of action, we want them to learn about the missing and murdered Indigenous women, and we want them to learn about orange shirt day,” she adds.
Booth locations will include the Spirit Sisters Rock at Grande Prairie Regional College, the Grande Prairie Museum, Montrose Cultural Centre, Grande Prairie Public Library, Elders Caring Center, and Centre 2000.
“There will be lots of information at these booths so that people in the community who want to engage and who want to talk and have a conversation to learn more about Indigenous issues and the Indigenous community,” says Beauchamp-Chester.
She adds June 27th will showcase performances from group districts in the Indigenous community.
“We’re hoping to really engage with people at Muskoseepi Park on Sunday, and just really work with people to let them know that as an Indigenous community, there may only be 10 or 11 per cent of us here and only five per cent of us across Canada, but we’re still an integral part of society.”
Beauchamp-Chester says participants will be given a passport to bring to each location throughout the city to receive a stamp at each site. She adds once participants finish filling out their passports, they can put their name in an entry box at the location they end up at for a chance to win cash prizes.
The ceremonies will begin at 1 p.m at Muskossepi Park on Sunday.