Residents across northwestern Ontario celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day yesterday, with events across the region. The day recognizes and celebrates the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people.

In Kenora, events were celebrated in the sun at Anicinabe Park, with local music, crafts and activities.

It was awesome to see all of the kids come out and partake in all of the cultural education and crafts. It was amazing. The entertainment and the music was amazing. It was a great day, and it was so great to see everyone come out,”said Faith-Ellen Anderson, the executive assistant at Ne-Chee Friendship Centre and lead organizer for the events at Anicinabe Park.

It was a wonderful, awesome event. The highlight for me was seeing the amount of people that came out to celebrate. It’s an important day, it’s a way to recognize and share the culture with everyone,” said Patti Fairfield, executive director of the Ne-Chee Friendship Centre.

In Dryden, residents filled the Dryden Memorial Arena for music, dancing and food. Various community organizations and service providers were also in attendance, including the OPP, the Dryden Police Service, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Dryden Native Friendship Centre, among others.

“We’ve been so fortunate that the City of Dryden donated the Arena’s cost to us. We work so hard to create an atmosphere that’s inviting for all nations. We also had free food for the public. It was a great day, and everyone got to learn some Indigenous culture,” said Cheryl Edwards, executive director of the Dryden Native Friendship Centre.

There was also a performance by the Migisi Sahgaigan Fiddlers, and vendors were selling their wares. 

National Aboriginal Day was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc. It was renamed last year by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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