Experience Indigenous culture June 21

Story by Patricia Merrick

Summer 2023

Airdrie residents can experience Indigenous culture first-hand through interactive activities at the second annual National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration the evening of June 21.

The event will take place at Nose Creek Park through a partnership between Circle Connections for Reconciliation and the City of Airdrie. It will include dancing, drumming and singing performances from various nations, as well as fiddle players and dancers from the Metis nation, according to Adrian Pruden, co-chair of Circle Connections for Reconciliation.

Jennifer Lutz, Community Development Team Lead with the City of Airdrie, says one of council’s goals is to help support stronger Indigenous connections in the community through opportunities like this event.

“Last year, the cultural offerings and teachings were so well received that we hope even more community members will come out and participate,” Lutz says. “It’s really interactive. It’s a way to really experience culture. You’re not just watching – lots of times you’re participating and it is really inclusive and engaging.”

Not only will the event celebrate Indigenous culture in Airdrie but it will also enhance understanding and foster relationships, she says.

“National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Indigenous Peoples in our community and across the country,” she says. “Understanding the truth and what reconciliation could look like is important for every Canadian. It’s important for Canada to move on and heal and be a place where everyone can live with dignity, value and purpose.”

Community members wanting to make a change through positive education came together to form Circle Connections for Reconciliation in 2020, according to Pruden. The group’s main goal is to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive community for all.

“Our mission overall is to create opportunities to bring together Indigenous individuals and allies to help connect people and businesses etc. on the road to truth and reconciliation, as well as to promote and educate people in a caring and peaceful manner,” he says. “It’s important to educate and share the experiences and challenges that have been created within the Indigenous community but we also want to promote the beauty of Indigenous culture.”

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Airdrie Public Library introduces Indigenous-themed backpacks

The Airdrie Public Library facility is situated on Treaty 7 territory, the traditional lands of the Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Stoney Nakoda, and Tsuut’ina peoples, and on the homelands of the Métis Nation, Region III. In honour of these first peoples, APL has put together preschool and school-aged educational backpacks that can be borrowed like any other item in its collection. “APL’s preschool and school-aged indigenous backpacks are part of the library’s objective to provide a diverse and inclusive collection,” says Kelly Lauzon, APL’s Operations Manager, “giving families the ability to explore and learn about Metis and Treaty Seven Nation peoples and history through books, games, activities, and toys.”