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Local leaders honour National Indigenous Peoples Day

Community leaders in the Comox Valley are calling National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to learn.

The mayors of Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland along with Comox Valley Regional District chair Jesse Ketler are trying to encourage others to take the opportunity to learn about Indigenous cultural traditions in Canada. They say the day is significant as the summer solstice is a celebration for Indigenous people across the country.

In a joint statement, the mayors say, “Many Indigenous peoples and communities have been celebrating their culture and heritage on the summer solstice for generations.” They add, “This is a good reminder that these lands have supported Indigenous communities for thousands of years before the arrival of our ancestors to their territories.”

The K’omoks First Nation is inviting the community to celebrate the day on the K’omoks Territory on Comox Road from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will feature bannock, K’omoks Cultural Dance Group along with storytelling and a “Loonie/Toonie” fundraising auction.

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The mayors added they are “grateful for the relationship with the K’omoks First Nation and for the leadership of chief and council, who have guided and supported us on a journey of meaningful engagement and relationship building.”

Canada has recognized the specialty day since 1996, when it was announced by then Governor General Romeo LeBlanc. It was originally called National Aboriginal Day until it was renamed in 2017.

The B.C. government says much has changed since then, and more is to come.

“While much has changed since the first celebration 26 years ago, there is still much work ahead of us,” said a statement. “As we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, let us reflect on our history, recognize the healing ahead and act on our shared responsibility to advance reconciliation in B.C.”

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