The month of June is a special one, serving as National Aboriginal History month here in Canada. June 21 is even more special, as it’s National Aboriginal Day: a month long celebration of Aboriginal culture, all centred around a single day. UFV’s celebration of our indigenous peoples was held on Wednesday, June 17, in the Student Union Building.
Lasting four hours, UFV’s National Aboriginal Day awareness event saw a traditional welcome performed by Elder Eddie Gardner, as well as Aboriginal arts and crafts on sale, some of which were crafted by UFV Aboriginal students. With vendors along the edges of the Great Hall, the central focus of the event was on the cultural demonstrations provided. Cedar weaving and language lessons from the Coqualeetza Cultural Education Centre, Eddie Gardner’s medicine wheel, the explanation and demonstration of a game of Slahal — all this and more was on display.
Most enjoyable of all was a traditional Sts’ailes dance performed by several young children which was complemented by thunderous drumming. It was an emotional moment, though smiles were raised at what appeared to be the troupe’s youngest member holding onto to an attendant adult’s hand all throughout the performance.
The event was a success, as UFV students were given a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the indigenous people of the Fraser Valley.