Yesterday was National Aboriginal Solidarity Day at the Green, and Wortley Village was filled with people celebrating – both indigenous and non-indigenous – all gathered together to celebrate the summer solstice.
The cultural celebration started with a sunrise ceremony, and the lighting of a sacred fire at 5:30am. Dancers were clad in traditional headdresses and danced to the beat of a drum circle, while inviting the public to join them.
Throughout the day, thousands made their way down to the green, including many kids from neighbourhood schools on field trips. There were also many London dignitaries: Police Chief John Pare, MPPs Peggy Sattler and Teresa Armstrong, and city councillors Maureen Cassidy and Stephen Turner were there to take part in the Veterans Dance. Mayor Matt Brown was also in attendance later in the morning.
There were vendors ringing the park selling all kinds of wonderful handmade goods and crafts, and Indian tacos, as well as other culturally responsible community groups, like the Urban League of London and Museum London.
“During these times when we have problems with racism and stereotypes, it’s more important than ever to have something like this so people can come out and see that no, the stereotypes are wrong.”
Indigenous Solidarity Day #LdnOnt is on until 8:30pm! Big thank you to the organizers for putting on this amazing event in our city! Learn more at https://t.co/6i2BypSAmI & stop by to see @MuseOntArch & @MuseumLondon's booths. #NationalIndigenousPeoplesDay #NIPDCanada pic.twitter.com/0b3f0zOjPR
— Ldn Heritage Council (@HeritageCouncil) June 21, 2018
For some it, it was a hands-on learning experience. For others, it was a celebration of the culture they grew up in.
National Aboriginal Solidarity Day has been celebrated on June 21 each year since 1996. Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to change the day’s name to National Indigenous People’s Day, to be consistent with the international recognition of Indigenous Peoples, and to recognize and acknowledge the homeland of indigenous nations and cultures.