National Indigenous Peoples Day kicks off with sunrise ceremony in St. John’s

National Indigenous Peoples Day kicks off with sunrise ceremony in St. John’s
First Gentle’s dawn ceremony to mark Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day included prayers, smudging and music. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

Greater than 100 folks gathered for the annual dawn ceremony in St. John’s to mark the start of Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day on Wednesday — regardless of the chilly, foggy climate.

The ceremony started with smudging, drumming and prayers from Indigenous elders. Marjorie Muise, a Mi’kmaw elder from Bay St. George, mentioned she was proud to be there.

“It’s so vital,” she mentioned in the course of the ceremony. “Everyone right here got here out to help and to have a good time with us, and that in itself is honourable.”

First Gentle, an Indigenous non-profit group based mostly in St. John’s, holds the ceremony annually in Cavell Park, a inexperienced area close to its headquarters on Quidi Vidi Highway. 

June 21, the summer time solstice, marks Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, a day for celebrating the cultures, languages and heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, nations and people throughout the nation.

Muise advised CBC Information the spirituality of the ceremony is vital.

“It touches lots of people,” she mentioned Wednesday morning.

She mentioned the variety of folks attending the ceremony has ballooned in recent times.

“It has grown so properly,” she mentioned. “Folks [are] actually acknowledging our cultures and accepting and understanding, which is admittedly what we’re aiming to do — for folks to grasp who we’re and never be intimidated, simply come and share and be taught.”

‘Come collectively as one’

For Inuk elder Emma Reelis, Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day is about celebration, remembrance and reconciliation.

“Everyone will get collectively, come collectively as one,” she mentioned. “There was a lot wanted for reconciliation after residential faculties and murdered and lacking Indigenous girls and women.”‘

Reelis mentioned seeing younger folks have a good time her tradition offers her hope for the longer term.

“I actually do imagine within the youth and our youngsters,” she mentioned.

Stan Nochasak, an Inuk drummer from Nain, carried out in the course of the ceremony.

“Inuit drum can be the heartbeat of all creation,” he mentioned. 

WATCH | First Gentle marks Indigenous Peoples Day with dawn ceremony: 

national indigenous peoples day kicks off with sunrise ceremony in st johns 1

Dawn ceremony in St. John’s marks Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day 2023

First Gentle held its annual dawn ceremony in St. John’s on Wednesday. Individuals mentioned Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day is a time for reflection and celebration.

Nochasak mentioned for him, Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day is a time to have a good time and keep in mind his ancestors.

“We need to move on this delight and hold the spirit alive and to move it on to the world,” he mentioned.

“Everyone has a job, like a pebble of an inukshuk,” he mentioned.

Following the ceremony, First Gentle hosted a breakfast at its headquarters.

Later Wednesday, First Gentle shall be internet hosting free festivities, together with musical performances, conventional hair braiding and drumming periods on the Techniplex in St. John’s. 

First Gentle occasions and festivals specialist Salome Barker mentioned the occasion is supposed to have a good time the varied Indigenous cultures in Newfoundland and Labrador and past.

“It’s a cheerful day, and everybody’s welcome,” she mentioned.

Learn extra from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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