NIPD to celebrate diverse Indigenous cultures in Maple Ridge

Although Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are on the unceded, ancestral lands of the Katzie First Nation and Kwantlen First Nation, a diverse Indigenous community comes together for celebrations. 

National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) is one of them. 

After two years of pandemic-related restrictions, the day is back for its 11th in-person celebration this Saturday. 

Read: Drum making, an act of healing for Indigenous women

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Fraser River Indigenous Society (FRIS) managed to have virtual celebrations of Indigenous heritage. 

They approached different dancers, singers and artists and uploaded their performances on an interactive map on YouTube. 

And while they continued doing small-scale outdoor events, they weren’t open to the public and not everyone was able to attend, said Ginna Berg, executive director at FRIS. 

She clarified that September 30 is different than this day. 

“On September 30, we recognize the harms done by residential schools and it comes from the call to action for non-Indigenous people across Canada. Whereas NIPD is a proclamation, a celebration of achievements, gifts that the Indigenous peoples have given – a celebration of the wonderful songs and stories they carry,” said Berg. 

There are many Metis people living in Ridge Meadows who are away from their traditional territories and teachings. As an urban organization, FRIS brings them all together to share and learn together from other Indigenous communities around them. 

Alongside the Haney Farmers Market, a day has been planned with Powwow dancing, poetry and songs. 

After an opening ceremony by the Katzie First Nation elders, the day will include sharing First Nation, Metis and Inuit traditions including spray painting with Rain Pierre, storytelling and poetry by Joseph Dandurand, and Powwow dancing by David Whitebean and Shyama Priya among others. 

Indigenous vendors will also have booths along with activity tents. 

The event will begin at 10 a.m. and go on till 2 p.m. at Memorial Peace Park.

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