Prince George Celebrates National Aboriginal Day
Prince George, B.C. – Hundreds of people have gathered at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park to celebrate National Aboriginal Day today.
The festival-like atmosphere includes vendors, crafts, and live entertainment.
It’s also a time for some to reflect.
“I suppose myself reflecting on this day I think it’s a transition of our relationship between the settler communities and also the government where over the last year we’re realizing all the issues that are plaguing aboriginal people and are still there for many people,” says Carrier Sekani Tribal Chief Terry Teegee.
“So I think in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Report and in light of the many issues, like today, still advocating for missing and murdered women, and the realization of an actual inquiry, I think what we’re going to find is the truth.”
He says part of that truth includes acknowledging the fact aboriginal people were already here for hundreds if not thousands of years prior to Confederation.
“So to me we’re reconciling those differences and rather than essentially building walls we’re building new relationships where we can all co-exist and have a celebration of our differences.”
NDP MLA Carole James, who in the past worked for Carrier Sekani Family Services, says it’s also a time to celebrate the progress that’s been made.
“I certainly feel that we’ve come a long way. Certainly a long way even from the time I first lived in Prince George to see this kind of turnout for a National Aboriginal Day,” says James.
“To have the park renamed and to see the mix of people who are here. This isn’t just a day for aboriginal people, this is a day for all of the community to celebrate.”
She also feels with the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, there’s a blue print in place moving forward.
“To continue real reconciliation, to continue the real work that needs to be done to make sure that kids are learning about the history of aboriginal people in school so that it’s not something they learn afterwards, it’s something that becomes part of the curriculum.”