Join the celebration! The annual Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival is happening from June 20 through 25. This popular, family-oriented multi-disciplinary arts festival focuses on the culture and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. And it provides a great opportunity for everybody, of all ages, to learn and appreciate more about these rich and diverse cultures as a step towards reconciliation.
Festivities encompass National Aboriginal Day (NAD) June 21. That’s the date indigenous people across Canada traditionally gather and celebrate Summer Solstice; NAD events have been happening in the National Capital Region for the past 21 years.
For 2017, the festival has expanded from a three-day event at Vincent Massey Park to a six-day program at three venues. June 20,, the festival opens with Making Treaty 7, a multidisciplinary-arts theatrical production that looks at the historical significance and ongoing relevance of treaties, as well as the true spirit and intent of Treaty 7.
Part of Canada Scene at the NAC, admission is “pay-as-you-decide,” with proceeds donated to the Odawa Friendship Centre. Click here for details.
On June 21st National Aboriginal Day, events take place at Major’s Hill Park. Highlights include traditional games, workshops, displays, vendors, cultural performance and entertainment. In the evening, there’s a concert that’s kicked off with local acts, including Juno-nominated Metis performer Amanda Rheaume.
The Youth and Elders Gathering is taking place at Vincent Massey Park Thursday and Friday, June 22 and 23,, followed by the international Competition Pow Wow on the weekend, with Host Drum Black Bear and hundreds of drummers and dancers from across North America. Saturday and Sunday, there will be lots of cultural performances on the main stage. Juno Award-winning Digging Roots co-headlines Saturday evening with Holly McNarland.
Festival goers will also have the opportunity to mark Canada’s 150th year by visiting the Reconciliation Pavilion at Vincent Massey Park. It’s dedicated to honouring the diverse indigenous cultures of this land – with an honest look at past shared history, as well as revealing the future vision of “Reconciliation through Social Innovation.”
In the Odawa 150 Years of Shared History Pavilion, visitors will learn about the traditional unceded Algonquin territory now known as Ottawa. Algonquin cultural and historical displays, a Manawiin (Together) Algonquin paddle exhibit, painting workshops and more will share local Indigenous history and cultures.
Free family fun and programming includes the bungee trampoline and 400-foot zipline, inflatables a Birds of Prey stage show, face painting, crafts and more. There’s also an Indigenous marketplace featuring art, food and fashion.