One of the best things about APTN’s annual celebration of National Aboriginal Day is its focus on showcasing the amazing talents of our Aboriginal Peoples to the nation. Aboriginal Day Live ’09 will be no exception.

APTN viewers and attendees, at stages in Winnipeg and Whitehorse, will not be disappointed as the network brings a whole new lineup of talent to this year’s three-and-a-half-hour live show.

From the Whitehorse stage, the audience will be treated to the blues-rock beat of Juno Award-winning guitarist, singer and songwriter Derek Miller and to the Nashville sounds of country-music-sensation Crystal Shawanda, star of the APTN series, Crystal: Living the Dream.

Juno nominee Kinnie Starr, master fiddler Donny Parenteau, celebrated guitarist Ed Peekeekoot, Juno Award-winner Jerry Alfred and the First Peoples Performance Group round out the talent at the Shipyards Park stage, which will be hosted by Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller and comedian Ryan McMahon.

The Winnipeg stage, meanwhile, will headline Academy Award-winning Canadian First Nations musician, composer, visual artist and educator, Buffy Sainte-Marie; well-known actor and rock musician, George Leach; Aboriginal rap artist, Joey Stylez; Tadoule Lake’s Sayisi Dene Drummers; progressive rock artists, Eagle & Hawk; top-selling recording artists, Brulé & the American Indian Rock Opera (AIRO); and Labrador’s Aboriginal Artist/Group of the Year, The Flummies.

Star of the Gemini-nominated and Rosie Award-winning APTN comedy, Fish Out of Water, writer/comedian Don Kelly will host.

The exclusive three-and-a-half-hour Aboriginal Day Live ’09 celebration will air live in the Yukon on Saturday, June 20, at 6 p.m. CT on APTN North (Bell ExpressVu channel 270/Starchoice channel 350) and APTNHD (Bell ExpressVu channel 808).

Please check your local television listings.

For viewers in the host cities, the celebrations are as close as Shipyards Park (Whitehorse) and The Forks (Winnipeg). The event is free to attend and the public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and be part of the live show. In Whitehorse, the pre-show begins at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m.

Be sure to mark this spectacular event on your calendar and watch this column space in the coming weeks as we feature the talent that will perform during the show.

APTN Special National Aboriginal Day Programming, June 21: continuing its celebration of National Aboriginal Day, APTN and APTNHD will feature a full day of special programming including encore presentations of Aboriginal Day Live ’09 and the 2009 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

The network will also broadcast the APTN premiere (English version) of Elijah, a docu-drama about Elijah Harper, the Aboriginal politician from Manitoba who stood up against the Meech Lake Accord.