HomeNewsIsland & CoastResidents of Duncan honour Cowichan Tribes on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Residents of Duncan honour Cowichan Tribes on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Cowichan Tribes put on a celebration for National Indigenous Peoples Day on Friday. Duncanites turned out in droves for the festivities, stories and songs to commemorate the full history of the area and remember the past. 

Chief Cindy Daniels says having a day to just remember and celebrate the culture is part of a step towards providing reconciliation and remembering, but ultimately the day is about bringing people together. 

“It is really nice to get out and socialize with family and friends and see people you haven’t seen in a while,” she says. “Today is about looking at what’s around and learning about the culture and heritage. 

“Learn our history and what we do.” 

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been recognized since 1996. June 21 was chosen as the date since it often coincides with the summer solstice. Daniels says gaining a day of recognition took a lot of time and effort, but it signifies so much.  

“This is a very new holiday, it took hundreds of years to recognize National Indigenous Day,” she says.  

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Daniels says the day to recognize their culture and past all started with one word. 

“The big word that came out of all the recommendations with government was reconciliation,” she says. “That meant a lot to people right across Canada.” 

Even though June 21 is a dedicated day for celebration Daniels says they make sure their heritage is celebrated and remembered throughout the year, not just on national holidays. 

“We celebrate all year round,” she adds. “We celebrate our successes everyday, not just today.” 

Elder Alvin Charlie delivers a speech during celebrations in Duncan.
Photo credit: Justin Baumgardner, VistaRadio

Elder Alvin Charlie says seeing the amount of people who have come out to celebrate and remember is heartwarming and encouraging to know their culture will live on. 

“It’s so good to see all families together and celebrating who we are,” he says. “We’ve come so far by working together, and we’re going to continue moving forward.” 

Festivities were held at Si’em Lelum Gymnasium from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and included music from drum bands and speeches from various representatives from Cowichan Tribes. 

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