How much do you know about indigenous people in Canada? Take the opportunity this month to learn about this part of Canadian history and culture during the National Aboriginal History Month.
The core celebration is the annual National Aboriginal Day on June 21st. This day is dedicated to remember and honor the contributions of aboriginal nations to the heritage of Canada. June 21st was proclaimed National Aboriginal Day in 1996 and events are held all over Canada to praise the heritage and cultures of Canada’s first people. Many cities and communities organize festivals and barbeques with traditional music, dance and singing, also called Pow Wow. One can learn about First Nations cultures, see traditional ceremonies and native crafts.
There are three Aboriginal groups in Canada – the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The name First Nations includes all native tribes and groups of Canada except the Inuit and the Métis people. There are a lot of different cultures and symbols but the one familiar to us in BC are the totem poles and masks. The Inuit people originally inhabited the Arctic regions of North America and the most famous symbol is probably the Inuksuk, especially know on the West Coast. The Métis people are considered a separate native group of a mixed heritage between Indigenous people and European settlers.
If you want to know more but missed the Vancouver events on June 21st, you can stop at the Klahowya Village in Stanley Park, an aboriginal village where you can experience Native songs, dance, art and cuisine. It opened on June 21st and can be visited until September 16, 2012.