This year Kingston celebrated National Indigenous People’s Day at City Park with all day activities and a free concert.
Organizations like Kingston Indigenous Language Nest (KILN), City of Kingston, Office
of Indigenous Initiatives, Limestone District School Board, Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, Kewaywin Circle and other community members worked together to celebrate National Indigenous Day at City Park on June 21.
The all-ages event included activities such as lacrosse demonstration, corn husk doll making, a scavenger hunt, and community drumming.
Queen’s University marked National Indigenous People’s Day by celebrating the Tipi Moza Transitional Housing, which opened last year. Tipi Moza, translating to ‘iron home,’ is a non-profit organization providing First Nation, Metis, and Inuit families with affordable housing.
Jayme Blondin, an Indigenous councillor with Sexual Assault Services Kingston, credited the City for supporting the day’s events. Until recently, Indigenous events were exclusively dependent on the efforts of community agencies to join together and hold these events.
“The fact the City is providing us with funding, and we’re able to take that and create an event that’s a reflection of us is really wonderful,” Blondin said in an interview with The Journal.
Two-time JUNO award winners Digging Roots, led by Anishinaabe and Onkwehón duo ShoShona Kish and Raven Kanatakta, closed the celebration in Springer Market Square with a free evening concert.
“This day is important for us. We get to celebrate together—maybe we don’t get enough celebration—that we put our truth and our culture and the possibility of who we might be in the centre of the circle,” Kish, founder of the International Indigenous Music Summit and the music label Ishkōdé Records, said during the concert.
Attendees gathered in the centre of Springer Market Square to form a circle, hand-in-hand, as the event ended.
In an interview with The Journal, Aaron St. Pierre, director of the Four Direction Indigenous Students Centre (FDISC) announced there will be an opening of a new Indigenous gathering space on Queen’s campus by Tindall Field.
“It’s a beautiful structure. It’s meant to be not just Indigenous gathering space, but for the community in general,” St. Pierre said.
The FDISC will continue to provide services such as counseling and academic advising. This June marked the graduation of the first cohort of Queen’s students enrolled in the Certificate in Mohawk Language and Culture.
As the graduating class of 2023 prepares to cross the stage at Leon’s Centre for their convocation ceremonies, St. Pierre acknowledges their hard work and perseverance. Indigenous graduates are presented with a gift from the FDISC as they cross the stage.
“I just want to commend students at Queen’s for their strength and all the work they have done. It’s exciting to see them graduating this week and what they do in life,” St. Pierre said.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the opening date for Tipi Moza Transitional Housing and misspelled Aaron St. Pierre’s name.
Incorrect information appeared in the June 26 issue of The Journal.
The Journal regrets the error
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