Why We Exist
Oki, Tansi, Danit’ada, Aba-wath-tech, Paarutit, Hello!
In the early 1990’s, Indigenous agencies serving the Indigenous community in Calgary began organizing events and celebrations during the week leading up to National Indigenous Peoples Day, held annually on June 21. The summer solstice is a culturally significant day for many Indigenous peoples and is now acknowledged by celebrations held in towns, cities and reserves across Canada.
For the past several years, our event was hosted at the Calgary Stampede where the Elbow River Camp is now located. This year, 2019, we are moving to Fort Calgary, named by the North West Mounted Police in 1876. Since time immemorial, tribes would meet for trading on the site known as “Moh’kins’tsis” for the Niitsitapi, “Wincheesh-pah” for the Ĩyãħé Nakoda, “Otos’kwunee” for the Nēhiyawēwin, and “Kootsisaw” for the Tsuut’ina peoples, all referring to the ‘elbow’ or the meeting of two rivers. By highlighting this living history with our continued presence, we are looking forward to keeping the culture and language alive and strong for many years to come.
We anticipate elders, chiefs, dignitaries, Indigenous celebrities, corporate Calgary, and many other members of our Indigenous community to attend. Last year’s attendance throughout the day and evening was roughly 2000 individuals. In 2019 we are taking on a different twist to the event, which will bring in many more people.
As always, we will continue to host the Caravan pancake breakfast starting off our day at 9 a.m. along with the Family Day activities for all ages. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. is the annual traditional powwow where Sorrel Rider (Siksika) is participating as the lead host drum.
Ultimately we are excited to be showcasing our local Indigenous talent by working together with all neighbouring organizations who are celebrating in the month of June. We hope to see you in the crowd!
The Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary Committee