Last year, thousands came together at the Esquimalt Lagoon to participate in National Indigenous Peoples Day but this year, things look a little different.
In celebration of the annual event, Royal Roads University has released a National Indigenous Peoples Day 2020 video on Facebook and Instagram TV so community members can take part in the day while following COVID-19 regulations.
Community leaders, youth, performers, artists and old ones/elders/knowledge keepers gathered safely this year at the university which is on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen (Songhees) and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) ancestors and families.
The online event features an opening prayer by elder Shirley Alphonse of the Cowichan and T’sou-ke Nation. Government and community leaders and Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp will then offer messages and good wishes.
Following that are performances by the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers from Songhees Nation and a canoe landing teaching, history and stories by Lekwungen Nation elder Butch Dick and Ocean Spirit Canoe family Max Henry Sr., Max Henry Jr. and youth.
There are also Metis teachings with Jo-Ina Young, a knowledge keeper who is part of the Metis Nation of Greater Victoria and a Metis jigger and fiddler performance with Simone Blais and Calvin Cairns.
Ten recipients of the Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport with ISPARC are also recognized in the celebrations and a performance from the Coming of Age program led by Jessica Sault caps off the event.
For more information, head to royalroads.ca/event/national-indigenous-peoples-day-2020-celebrations.