How to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in Halifax
Tuesday is National Indigenous Peoples Day, which recognizes the contributions and celebrates the cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people throughout Canada. To mark the day, there are events happening around Halifax.
One event, the Mawita’jik Competition Pow Wow, happened in Dartmouth, N.S., over the weekend. Cheryl Gehue, the Indigenous community advisor for the Halifax Regional Municipality, says it’s one of the largest competitive pow wows east of Montreal.
“We had thousands of people coming in to watch our amazing, talented drummers and dancers perform and compete this weekend. It was absolutely the most heat-warming thing you could see all weekend,” says Gehue. “As many people were saying, it just made our heart smile. It was just so wonderful to hear the drums again and see our dancers and showcase the beautiful resilient culture that we have.”
National Indigenous Peoples Day will be marked at events throughout Halifax Tuesday, including DeWolf Park in Bedford at 4 p.m.
“We have some activities for children, so they can come and make a teepee and we’ll give them a teaching about erecting a teepee, and you could also come and talk with an Elder in one. We also have some Lusknikn, some Mi’kmaq bread, for people to try.”
Another Indigenous Peoples Day event will take place Tuesday evening at the Grand Oasis stage outside Halifax City Hall, with musical entertainment.
DJ Shub, who recently won the 2022 JUNO award for Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year, will perform. Boogát and the Iron Tide dancers from Millbrook First Nation will open the event, which starts at 7 p.m.
“It’s quite an exciting evening showcasing Indigenous artists, dancers and performers and crafts throughout the city,” says Gehue.
Gehue says, after unmarked graves were found at former residential school sites last year, Halifax decided that Canada Day celebrations shouldn’t be cancelled next week, but instead refocused events to reflect the Indigenous community.
“Within Halifax this year, we’re going to be hosting a Mawio'mi that will be open to the public to come in. We have drummers and dancers and singers and performers coming to perform. We will be giving away free samples of Indian tacos to try out. You’ll get to see and learn different dance styles, you’ll get to hear Inuit drummers and dancers perform.”
The Canada Day event at the Halifax Commons includes performances by DeeDee Austin and the Blue Marshall band. The Kana’ta 2022 Main Event Concert at Grand Parade happening later in the day will feature performances by Drives The Common Man, Neon Dreams and Crown Lands, ahead of a fireworks finale.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for everybody to come out and see our culture, share our culture, taste our food and learn more about it,” says Gehue.