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National Indigenous Peoples Day observed in Calgary through multiple events


More than 400 people are set to participate in the Walk for Reconciliation in Calgary on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The event looks to bring awareness to the tragedies and atrocities caused by the residential school system in Canada.

"It's really a great opportunity, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, to acknowledge the truth of the history," said Lindsie Bruns, director of creative experience at The Confluence.

The event started at the Harry Hays Building and was to end at The Confluence Historic Site and Parkland, formerly Fort Calgary.

"It's really significant that we're hosting it here where Fort Calgary stood because one of the jobs of the officers that were stationed here was to enforce the residential school system," Bruns said.

The Walk for Reconciliation began in 2009 and has only grown in size.

"It's also a hopeful event, as we all come together and sort of commit to moving forward in a good way," Bruns said.

Over the lunch hour, Arts Commons hosted a teepee raising at Olympic Plaza with Garret Smith and his family from the Blackfoot Nation.

"What this is, is just the chance for us to engage with the community," Smith said.

"Show people who we are as Blackfoot people, have a space again that is uniquely us and to be able to just engage in our culture and our spirituality and celebrate."

The Blackfoot utilize methods that begin with four poles, while other Nations use three.

"The opportunity to be able to come here and be ourselves, the opportunity to come here and raise a teepee and engage in our cultural practice, that's something that's invaluable," Smith said.

Wellspring Alberta was celebrating the third year of its Indigenous Cancer Sharing Circle on this day.

It's a virtual program that serves Indigenous Peoples with cancer and their caregivers across the province.

"The opportunity to connect with other Indigenous people who are going through treatments or living with cancer is really important," said Tiffany Morin, a cancer patient.

"I think the other piece of the elders being there in our circle is vital with their support, their teachings."

Morin was diagnosed with cancer six years ago and it returned more than two years ago.

She's actively in treatment and able to get support from the sharing circle no matter where she is.

"There's singing and drumming and it's something I prioritize on my schedule now, every month," she said.

"So that I can attend and see those folks and I've actually never met any of them in person, it's all virtual."

Heritage Park hosted a full day of celebration and activities for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

It started with a powwow with performances by Babyflats, Indian Agency, Nakoda Nation, Stoney Park Jr. and Broken Knife, who hosted a celebration of Indigenous music and culture.

Several teepees from Nations around southern Alberta were set up at the park for this event.

"We want to do a traditional powwow because we feel the concept of traditions around powwows is being lost," said Anita Crowshoe, Heritage Park's Indigenous engagement adviser.

"This is an opportunity to revive it and to bring people from all Nations and diversities back together."

The park will host special programming all of June in honor of National Indigenous History Month, with traditional Indigenous Games and dancing. Top Stories

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