This week in city council chambers, Mayor Naheed Nenshi signed a proclamation marking June 15 to 21, 2020 as Aboriginal Awareness Week in Calgary. While a proclamation is not necessary to recognize and celebrate the distinct and vibrant First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in our city, it is a chance to take part in the celebration with multiple events being put on across Calgary and within Treaty 7. The events culminate on June 21 with National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, which will feature a full day of ceremony and distinguished speakers.
This year holds significant weight for many Indigenous communities, all with unique traditions and ceremonies, as the COVID-19 pandemic has infringed on ceremonies and traditions routinely held throughout the summer.
As with so many other things during the summer of social-distancing, there are virtual events that can be attended. Here are some of the events taking place for this year’s Aboriginal Awareness Week and National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary (AAWC)
AAWC has designated this year’s theme as “Keeping the Circle Strong, Through Mother Earth’s Future Generations.” On June 21, there will be a full day celebrating Indigenous culture with dancing, singing and storytelling from Elders. The day begins in ceremony at 9 a.m. with Elder Camille (Pablo) Russell Jr. leading a Pipe Ceremony.
The Grand Entry song will be performed by the drum singers, Thunder, at 1 p.m. and Métis Elder Doreen Begum will be sharing the history of Métis jigging at 3 p.m.
The full schedule of events can be found here.
Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society
Awo Taan is a women’s emergency shelter offering support and education for those affected by family violence. Here are a few of the events they are offering virtually through their Facebook page this week.
Wednesday, June 17: Baking Bannock with Elder Doreen Jacobs at 1 p.m.
Thursday, June 18: Grandmother Turtle Interactive Seven Sacred Teaching of the Buffalo at 1 p.m.
Friday, June 19: Staff Aboriginal Awareness Celebration at 1 p.m.
Saturday, June 20: Fearless Father Nominations
University of Calgary
On Friday, June 19, the University of Calgary (UCalgary) is hosting an online event as the next instalment of Campfire Chats, a series of discussions around Indigenous issues, and will dive into the topic of Indigenous resilience.
Chancellor Deborah Yedlin will moderate a panel featuring Dr. Lynden (Lindsay) Crowshoe, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine at UCalgary; Marlene Poitras, Regional Chief for Alberta, Assembly of First Nations; and, Ryan Robb, Chief Executive Officer for Stoney Tribal Administration representing the three Stoney Nakoda Nations: Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley First Nations.
The event takes place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and registration can be found here.