Drummers performed at the National Indigenous Peoples Day event held in Langley City’s Douglas Park. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

VIDEO: More interest in indigenous culture and language seen at Langley event

Attendance at National Indigenous Peoples Day event takes a jump

Growing interest about indigenous culture sparked a substantial increase in turnout for the National Indigenous Peoples Day event held in Langley City’s Douglas Park on the July 22 weekend.

About 600 people attended, up from the 400 who visited the previous year, estimated Danielle Placek, an aboriginal outreach worker in Langley for the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, the group that organized the Saturday event.

“It’s amazing the number of non-indigenous people who reach out to myself and my co-workers,” Placek told the Langley Advance Times.

Describing herself as an “urban aboriginal woman,” Placek views the annual celebration of indigenous arts and culture as an opportunity for “joy and healing and togetherness” for indigenous people.

“This is a part of every Canadian’s culture,” Placek added.

“Everybody in Langley, you deserve to be a part of this culture and immerse yourself in it.”

READ MORE: ‘No act of reconciliation is too small,’ says B.C. advanced education minister

Memories are still fresh of a time when their culture was not celebrated in Canada, due to federal government policies that aimed to eliminate indigenous language and culture, Placek related.

“It’s affected everyone in my family. My mother is a child of the ‘sixties scoop’ [when indigenous children were removed from their families and placed in foster homes or adopted], my grandmother is a residential school survivor. So that’s trauma and hurt that is still present in our family today.”

“It’s not something that is ancient history,” Placek stated.

For her, the event was an opportunity to take pride in the fact indigenous culture is healthy.

“This is Canada’s history,” Placek said.

“We are still speaking our languages and we are still creating our art and living in our traditional ways that our ancestors and families have passed down to us and we’re thriving.”

She looks forward to the event every year, calling it “wonderful.”

“I feel joy and healing and togetherness [when I attend], I feel that we can overcome and we will heal our families.”

“When we can come together and celebrate all of our successes and our beautiful culture, and all of our differences too, it’s really healing and important for all indigenous people.”

“Culture saves lives,” Placek maintained.

“Culture heals hearts and minds and souls.”

READ MORE: Trudeau announces new name for National Aboriginal Day

This year’s event offered free hot dogs and bannock baking, elder’s bingo and children’s entertainment as well as traditional dancing and a message from elders.

Fort Langley National Historic Site celebrated the day with an array of indigenous-themed events.

They included artist and designer Lisa Shepherd, who taught Métis dance workshops, a bannock baking presentation around the central fire pit in the fort and a tour of the Salmon Walk sculptures located outside the Fort in the surrounding orchard.

Tour company Voyageur Adventures offered the adventurous an opportunity to experience the history of Canada’s indigenous fur trade by making a two-day paddling trip from Mission to Fort Langley in 34-foot “canot de maître”replicas.

National Indigenous People’s Day started in 1996 as National Aboriginal Day and was renamed by the federal government in 2017.

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

 

Glen Valley resident Naya Franco, nine, celebrated her Peruvian roots at National Indigenous Peoples Day in Langley City. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

A banner at National Indigenous Peoples Day event in Langley City’s Douglas Park still had the original name of the event, which was changed in 2017. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times A banner at National Indigenous Peoples Day event in Langley City’s Douglas Park still had the original name of the event, which was changed in 2017. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Just Posted

LETTER: Langley letter writers asks when can society stop saying sorry

A l ocal man questions why City council feels the need to follow higher levels of government

Langley show jumpers help secure top five finish in Morocco

Canadian team includes one rider and the team’s chef d’equipe, who both hail from Langley

Langley volleyball player helps secure bronze in Puerto Rico

Women medal at NORCECA, while men’s team is playing the worlds in Hiroshima, Japan

LETTER: Fort Langley festival reminds us to be thankful

Heartfelt thanks go out to event organizers

VIDEO: Thanksgiving Day crash in Langley sent a few to hospital

UPDATE: No one believed seriously injured in head-on accident at 232nd Street and Fraser: Mounties

VIDEO: Trudeau plays defence in Maritimes today while Scheer fights for seats in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

‘Rather mild’ winter expected in B.C. this year

Northwestern B.C. will be the worst hit

Court action in Trail acid spills may take years

B.C. court case involves a number of defendants and a number of plaintiffs

RCMP shoot dog in Surrey after it charges officer

Member of the public not seriously injured after dog bite

In the news: Sprinting to the election finish line and anger amid Manitoba storms

First Nations residents forced to evacuate their Manitoba homes after a recent snowstorm

VIDEO: Townhouse fourth Maple Ridge blaze in less than a day

UPDATE: Fire victims have much to be thankful for, despite loss of pets on Thanksgiving Day

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Most Read