National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, is right around the corner. There’s so much to celebrate during this nationwide statutory holiday.
The Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse will host a day of festivities on June 21, including live music, artist demonstrations, traditional foods, ceremonies and more. Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFC), Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC), the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre (KDCC) and the Fireweed Market are all partners in the celebration that will be held in Whitehorse.
To start the day, the Yukon government will host an unveiling of the restoration of the BC Centennial Totem Pole at the waterfront. At 11:45 a.m., there will be a march along the riverfront to the KDCC. Opening ceremonies will commence at noon at the KDCC. Throughout the day there will demonstrations of hand games and arctic sports games, as well as a bannock bake-off, an array of food trucks, face painting for kids and a local arts market. Additional activities for kids will be offered at the Whitehorse Public Library.
Mainstage performances will run throughout the afternoon and evening, featuring dance groups from around the Yukon, as well as well as an array of musical performances.
This year, Whitehorse will also be live on location for Indigenous Day Live (IDL), the nation’s largest event in recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Through cultural activities and live music, the aim of IDL is to bring together Canadians from across the country in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ unique culture and identity.
On June 22, free daytime celebrations and evening concerts will take place in Winnipeg, Whitehorse, and Calgary. In Whitehorse, Shipyards Park will be filled by the sounds of some of the most recognized entertainers in Indigenous music and television.
“We have been working hard to connect with Canadians to share our culture,” said Jean La Rose, CEO of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. (APTN.) “We aim to present the true face of Indigenous peoples to create a bridge between Canada and Indigenous Canada to help improve the relationship in order to give each other opportunities to thrive and expand.”
Indigenous Day Live is an opportunity to share a fusion of music, dance, languages and interdisciplinary arts from First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in a celebration of contemporary Indigenous expression. It has been held annually since 2007 and is the largest celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada.
“The goal here has been to give an opportunity to our artists to be seen and heard and to share their talent and culture with all Canadians,” said La Rose.
Leela Gilday is among the talented artists who will perform in Whitehorse for IDL. Gilday is a Dene-Canadian singer songwriter from Yellowknife. From a young age she was immersed in music. She is now a widely celebrated artist from Canada’s North. Gilday is about to release her fifth record. Its first single will be out on June 21.
“I’ve performed on this broadcast before,” said Gilday. “And they always put on a really high-value production show.”
Gilday said she was grateful to be able to share the stage with such exceptional Indigenous musicians. She said she’s also excited to be able to share a sneak preview of her new record with the Whitehorse public and all those watching IDL. Gilday will return to the Yukon for Blue Feather Festival in November.
This year, the live multi-platform concert broadcast will air from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET on June 22. It will be broadcast via APTN, its radio partners and online at IndigenousDayLive.ca. To join the conversation anytime, use the hashtag #IDL2019
“We would love to see all of Whitehorse attend and truly want to make it an amazing day for every resident. They are all invited,” said La Rose. All are invited to come and enjoy the events that recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and remarkable achievements of Indigenous peoples across Canada, including the Yukon, on June 21 and 22.
For more information and full details on what is happening on June 21 visit KwanlinDunCulturalCentre.com. For more information and full details on what is happening on June 22 visit IndigenousDayLive.ca/Whitehorse.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated in communities across the Yukon at the following locations, courtesy of YFNCT.ca:
Carcross: Carcross Commons
Carmacks: Location varies each year
Dawson City: Dänoja Zho Cultural Centre
Haines Junction: Da kų “Our House” Cultural Centre
Mayo: NND Government House
Teslin: Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre
Whitehorse: Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre