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National Aboriginal Day Festivities

On June 21, 2005, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike gathered across Canada to celebrate National Aboriginal Day – a day set aside to honour the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. The joyous festivities included everything from Métis fiddling and dancing to Inuit fashion shows, as well as traditional arts and crafts displays and numerous spiritual ceremonies. The richness and beauty of various Aboriginal cultures and traditions, and the warmth of the bond felt by those who attended, radiated through the warm June afternoon.

The following videos feature just a few of the National Aboriginal Day events that took place in Edmonton, Alberta. Elder Jerry Wood leads us through a traditional Smudging Ceremony, while Elder Bertha Clarke Jones recalls her days in the Air Force and urges the younger Métis generations to take pride in their unique culture.

2005 was also the Year of the Veteran, and the thousands of Aboriginal soldiers who contributed to various war efforts over the years were commemorated and remembered. In the last video, veteran Elder Victor Letendre shares his hope for unity and respect among all people, and remembers the contributions of his fallen comrades.

Bertha Clarke Jones Elder Bertha Clarke Jones

  • Army Discrimination
    Elder Bertha Clarke Jones fondly remembers that discrimination did not exist during her army days.
  • Proud Métis
    Elder Bertha Clarke Jones urges the younger Métis generation to make use of their opportunities and to be proud of their Métis heritage.

Jerry Wood Elder Jerry Wood

  • Four Cardinal Directions
    Elder Jerry Wood Discusses the Four Cardinal Directions and the four Colours of Man.
  • Four Sacred Herbs
    Elder Jerry Wood discusses the four sacred herb: sweetgrass, sage, cedar, and tobacco.
  • Prophecies
    More than 150 years ago, the Elders made prophecies and predictions about the future of the Aboriginal Peoples which are coming about today, as attested to by Elder Jerry Wood.
  • Smudge
    Elder Jerry Wood leads a Smudging Ceremony at National Aboriginal Day 2005.

Victor Letendre Veteran Elder Victor Letendre

  • Veterans
    Aboriginal veteran Elder Victor Letendre shares his hope for unity and respect among all people.

 

Komoatuk Mathewsie Komoatuk Mathewsie

  • The impact of Elders
    Inuit Elder Komoatuk Mathewsie talks about the impact her Elders had on her life as a child growing up, and the difficulties that face her as an Elder trying to share her knowledge with today’s younger generations.
  • Respecting the Elders
    Elders are a rich source of traditional knowledge, but Elder Komoatuk Mathewsie worries that many important lessons are not being passed down to the youth.
  • Passing on knowledge
    Elder Komoatuk Mathewsie says it was hard to pass on her traditional knowledge of sewing and tool-making to her children.


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