Thousands gathered for National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

WATCH: Thousands gather for National Indigenous Peoples Day at Royal Roads University

Day to embrace and celebrate culture and lives of Indigenous peoples

Thousands of people gathered at Royal Roads University, on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen (Songhees) and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) ancestors and families.

They were there for National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations which included a canoe landing protocol and canoe challenge; drumming, singing and dancing; children’s field games, Indigenous foods, craft workshops and artists and vendors.

The canoe landing protocol and welcoming ceremony, which took place at 10:30 a.m. on the shore of Esquimalt Lagoon was led by Lekwungen Elder Butch Dick and Elder Elmer George. Seventeen canoes participated in the protocol with individuals in the canoes stating where they are from and asking for permission to come ashore.

READ ALSO: Indigenous peoples celebrated at Royal Roads

Premier John Horgan, who was on one of the canoes, has participated in the protocol before and said it will never get old. He said 14 years ago, it was difficult to find an event like this to participate in.

“National Indigenous Peoples Day has absolutely taken hold,” Horgan said. “It’s a great day in June to remind ourselves of how fortunate we are to live here on the unceded territory of Indigenous people.”

Elder Butch Dick of the Lekwungen (Songhees) Nation said an event like this was a vision of his and Asma-na-hi Antoine. Both work with Royal Roads and were looking out onto the Lagoon thinking it would be nice to have canoes there.

“The first year we had a few canoes, and then we had a few more and now today we had about 17 canoes and lots and lots of people which is pretty exciting,” Dick said.

Several school groups and community members joined in on the celebrations and observed the canoe landing protocol, learning about traditions that have been around for many years. Dick said he it was “overwhelming” to see how many people were there.

READ ALSO: Exploring First Nation Languages in B.C.

He said being able to see the protocols helps pass down the tradition to young people who can continue to practice them.

“In our culture we don’t have books…to tell you what the teachings are,” Dick said. “It’s very important to listen and to be able to pass that along to younger people.”

Philip Steenkamp, president of Royal Roads University, said it is an honour to be able to co-host National Indigenous Peoples Day.

“These are really important lands for the Indigenous people of this area, they’ve been here for thousands of years,” Steenkamp said. “People think about this place as a colonial castle but in fact Indigenous people pre-dated any kind of colonial settlement for thousands of years so it’s honouring that connection.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Thousands gathered for National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Thousands gathered for National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Premier John Horgan participates in the canoe landing protocol at National Indigenous Peoples Day on the shores of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Just Posted

CRD holding off repairing Sooke Potholes viewing area after winter landslide

Area likely to experience continued failure of slope, officials say

City of Victoria to hold formal safety review after man was left hanging from raised bridge

More and more people seen ignoring safety measurements in place, city staff say

Work to begin on John Phillips Memorial Park loo

Sooke council gives final approval

West Shore RCMP arrest man in stolen vehicle, seize handgun

Vehicle was reported stolen from Duncan on July 18

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Vancouver Island teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students, parents

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

POLL: Do you use a food delivery app?

With modern life becoming more hectic with each passing day and so… Continue reading

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Most Read