APTN announces Aboriginal Day Live; other celebrations planned in Val-d’Or, Chibougamau

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An impromptu freestyle rap announced the line-up of 2017’s Aboriginal Day Live (ADL) at a press conference livestreamed May 25 on Facebook by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). “It’s 8 am in LA, so this has got to be the earliest freestyle I’ve ever done,” said the California-based hip-hop artist Red Cloud before jumping into the improvised rap.

Before the freestyle, APTN CEO Jean La Rose, an Abenaki from Odanak, welcomed the crowed gathered at the Winnipeg Art Gallery to Treaty 1 territory. An Elder then said an opening prayer and La Rose encouraged all in attendance to participate in a smudge.

Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly participated in the conference via video message and spoke of Aboriginal Day as a time to unite Canadians under the banner of reconciliation. “This is a great opportunity for all Canadians to come together in celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples,” said Joly.

With federal government financial support to the tune of $2 million through the Canada 150 Fund, the 11th annual ADL will be the largest to date.20160625-PLS-IMG_1264

“Our government is proud to support this presentation by APTN of the marvellous celebrations in eight Canadian cities,” said Saint Boniface–Saint Vital MP Dan Vandal. “I encourage all Canadians to take advantage of the National Aboriginal Day festivities with family and friends to celebrate our diversity.”

La Rose sees this year’s ADL as a way to honour a history that predates Canada. “We are celebrating way more than [150 years],” said La Rose. “Our people have been here for 15,000 years minimum, and likely way more than that.”

The seven-hour ADL concert will be broadcast June 21 from 7 pm to 2 am Eastern Standard Time on APTN and livestreamed on APTN.ca. The concert will be staged in eight cities across the country: Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Performanc20160625-PLS-IMG_1305es during the cross-country event will include Classified, Derek Miller, George Leach, Iskwé, LightningCloud, Nelly Furtado, Radio Radio and Taboo of Black Eyed Peas.

Each city will host a full day of festivities, with cultural and interactive activities during the day and a concert in the evening. For full schedules and concert line-ups visit aboriginaldaylive.ca.

La Rose also announced a special APTN project: two new Indigenous music channels would be launching on multiple media platforms some time in July. “We have amazing talent, they’re incredible, and they deserve to be heard,” noted La Rose. “And they will be heard online, on satellite, on radio.”

But if you’re looking to celebrate closer to home, Aboriginal Day festivities are planned in Val-d’Or and Chibougamau.

The Chibougamau Native Friendship Centre will be hosting Aboriginal Day festivities June 21 on their grounds at 95 rue Jaculet. The day will begin with a sunrise ceremony, followed by a walking-out ceremony, and will include feasts, games, demonstrations and dancing. More info go to their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/eenoukamikw/.

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Aboriginal Day in Val-d’Or: a celebration of pride, friendship and sharing

20160625-PLS-IMG_1216Val-d’Or’s Aboriginal Day celebrations will be held “in the heart of the Anicinabe territory” on the shore of Lake Lemoine with another ground breaking ceremony taking place in town. The Val-d’Or Friendship Centre issued a press release detailing its plans for the holiday, centring on an open house and inauguration ceremony at the all new Kinawit cultural site which was created by the centre to give a glimpse into the “millennia-old richness of First Peoples.”

On tap for the open house event, which runs 1:00 to 4:30 pm at the Kinawit site, are traditional dance, songs and drumming, traditional food tasting, children’s activities, forest trail hikes, guided tours and Aboriginal arts and crafts exhibitions and souvenir sales. A shuttle service will be available from the Friendship Centre in Val-d’Or.

Aboriginal day will also mark the ground breaking ceremony for Val-d’Or’s Kijaté social housing project, an initiative to provide affordable homes for Indigenous families in the city. The Friendship Centre believes that the Kinawit and Kijaté projects can be “beacons of hope and symbolize reconciliation between our peoples.”

“The Val-d’Or Friendship Centre is a service hub, a living environment and a cultural anchor for First Peoples,” said Director Édith Cloutier. “Dedicated to wellness, justice and social inclusion, it promotes harmonious coexistence in its community.”

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