July 14th, 2024

City honours National Indigenous Peoples Day

By Lethbridge Herald on June 22, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Troy Delaney, Christopher Weasel Moccassin and Wylie Weasel Moccasin perform during the ceremony honouring National Indigenous Peoples Day at City Hall Tuesday.

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Led by an inspirational talk from Mike Bruised Head, a group of dignitaries paid tribute to National Indigenous Peoples Day on the steps of City Hall under bright breezy skies Tuesday morning.

Mayor Blaine Hyggen and the city’s two MLAs – UCP’s Nathan Neudorf and NDP’s Shannon Phillips – were among those who spoke about reconciliation and the importance of the day.

The ceremony attracted a small but appreciative crowd who applauded the words of the speakers during the ceremony that lasted just over an hour.

“Celebrations like this one offer a timely opportunity to take pause,” said the mayor in his comments.

By celebrating and learning this week we’re helping to create space for truth telling, dialogue, partnership and reconciliation within our communities,” the mayor said.

“We’re fortunate to be located in the heart of Blackfoot territory and are home to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III, so we have lots of opportunities to learn from the Indigenous peoples who have called Sikoohkitoki home for hundreds of years.”

“Part of moving toward reconciliation is learning and celebrating the role Indigenous culture plays in our community,” he added in written comments about the event.

MLA for Lethbridge East Neudorf told the crowd the day has been honoured in Canada since 1996.

“It’s an honour to be here today,” said Neudorf.

“It is a small step forward in our efforts to understand and deal with truth and reconciliation and we have so much more to do,” he said of the day.

“On behalf of the government of Alberta, I want to honour our First Nations in the way that we speak, how we listen and what we’ve learned from their traditional ways,” he added.

MLA for Lethbridge East Shannon Phillips said “many things in he past still need to be reckoned with.”

Phillips spoke about the importance of art which she said draws people together in every language and talked about the tremendous writers across the country, urging people to seek them out.

In his opening comments, Bruised Head – who told the crowd he defended his doctorate thesis in Blackfoot Monday – said he was a residential school survivor who was physically abused. And he said he wanted to speak in Blackfoot because missionaries wanted to knock his language out of him.

He said they didn’t break his spirit and “I’ll speak my language even into the next world. This is what this is all about: for us to continue speaking our language and practising and doing our ceremonies,” said Bruised Head, adding he’s made more friends speaking his own language.

He told the audience “teach your children to be good citizens, teach your young ones – nieces and nephews. That way our kids will all get along if it’s too late for some of us. And we’re so entrenched on division.

“Maybe you teach kids, maybe they’ll do a better job than all of us. I’m at that age where I’m sort of tired of division,” added Bruised Head.

“Let’s us be all equal and the same to each other. Let us not ride on our egos, let us just be friends,” added Bruised Head.

“Let’s cut the bull in our relationships, we’re all human beings. It doesn’t matter what colour,” he said.

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Citi Zen

Enough already. How about a National White Peoples Day? Getting really tired of the racism coming from the Indigenous population.