Nakusp is marking the Third Annual Aboriginal Day on Saturday, June 18.
The day coincides with a season that has traditionally been important in Aboriginal culture, said organizer Sharon Montgomery, curator at the Nakusp Museum.
“It’s summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year,” said Montgomery.
“We decided to hold it on the weekend – for the last two years, we had it on the Sunday, but we were competing with Father’s Day,” she said.
The event is going outdoors, “rain or shine,” from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Montgomery said.
“We’ll have tipis and tents around the gazebo in the park,” she said.
The event will be family-oriented. The village’s “Voyageur” canoe, a massive dugout canoe, will be available for rides in the bay.
There will be a native clown, face painting for the kids, demonstrations of “drum pulling” – how to make a traditional Aboriginal drum – as well as Aboriginal “medicine card” readings and multi-cultural exhibits from Aboriginal cultures around the world, including African, Inuit and Australian cultures as well as local native art, Montgomery said.
Bowmaster Clark Dennill will conduct a demonstration, and a representative from the Arrow Lakes Indians group will tell stories in the tipi, she said.
“A Sinixt representative will be here to welcome everyone at the opening ceremonies,” Montgomery said.
The entire event will be a fundraiser for the food bank.
The suggested donation for admission is either a cash donation or a canned good-type non-perishable food item.
Additional fundraisers for the food bank will include Aboriginal T-shirts and a concession stand.
“This is important in Nakusp because there needs to be more awareness about native culture,” Montgomery said.
“More education dispels fear – and it’s important for us to tell the story of the first people that were here,” she said.
Samples of native foods will be available, including bannock bread and elderberry jelly.
Co-sponsors for the event include School District 10 and the Columbia Basin Trust; host for the event is the Aboriginal Collective, a group of several aboriginal groups in the Arrow Lakes area.
“We really encourage people to come out and celebrate this event. It’s a national celebration and it gives tourists a reason to stay in Nakusp overnight,” Montgomery said.
Aboriginal Day Schedule Saturday, June 18th:
11:30 Tipi raising and blessing
11:45 Native Drumming in the Gazebo
12:00 Opening Ceremonies
12:15-1:00 Lunch at Food Bank Concession
1:00 Sinixt Story Telling in the big Tipi
1:00-3:00 Voyageur Canoe rides
1:00-2:00 Medicine Card Reading in small Tipi
1:30-1:45 Native Drumming in the Gazebo
2:00-2:15 The African Drummers
2:00-3:00 Sinixt Story Telling in the big Tipi
3:00-3;30 Taking down the small Tipi.