National Aboriginal Day in Langley means community

Various events around Langley are focused on increasing awareness.

This will be the fourth year that there’s been a public National Aboriginal Day celebration in Langley City to honour local First Nations and build bridges between cultures.

The Langleys are on the traditional territory of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Matsqui and Semiahmoo First Nations.

“Through the four protocols of welcoming, feasting, witnessing and gifting at our celebrations, we are sharing, building and strengthening our urban Aboriginal community. We are teaching about the diversity of our Aboriginal cultures and how we can all learn and grow from each other,” said Danielle Placek, an outreach worker with the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society.

Open to anyone, the event runs 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 19 at Douglas Park. Be ready for any kind of weather.

“Bring your sunscreen and umbrella,” quipped Placek.

The society has organized entainment, vendors, food and children’s activities.

The Township of Langley, the Red Fox Society, Langley Environmental Partners Society, Fraser Valley Regional Library, Langley Child Development Centre and Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society will all be providing healthy physical activities, arts and crafts for children of all ages and abilities, she explained.

For entertainment, there will be local educator Lisa Shephard, a Metis performer and traditional artist, with her dance group, First Nations comedian Carissa Haddock, Cascade Traditional Drum, First Nations breakdancers Law Roberts and Dallas James, Langley Powwow dance group, Stars of the North Drum Group and local First Nations singer/song writer Abby Marie Farebrother.

Admission is free. There’s hot dogs and bottled water offered. People can buy popcorn by donation.

There will be artisans with items for sale and bannock will be sold as well.

“Everyone is welcome to attend and we encourage all community members to join us in celebrating First Nations, Inuit and Metis culture and traditions,” Placek said.

Preserving history

The Fort Langley National Historic Site offers a history-based celebration for National Aboriginal Day.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., people can learn about the history of local First Nations. There will be salmon cooked the traditional way near a bonfire and there’s storytelling.

At 2 p.m., there will be a musket firing demonstration followed by target practice. The blacksmith demontration starts at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a flint & steel fire-starting activity at 3:30 p.m. Regular admission rates apply.

On exhibit

Who defines First Nations art?

That’s one of the key questions behind the current exhibit at the Langley Centennial Museum in Fort Langley. The show Tradition and Innovation in First Nations Art runs until July 17 and posits questions about tradition, innovation, art and culture.

Today’s artists challenge perceptions of Aboriginal art, leading to discussion on what’s modern and what’s traditional.

Their inspiration can be found in the styles and motifs of the past yet incorporate the social, political and environmental issues of the modern world.

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