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Toronto, Jun 21 (Canadian-Media): Indigenous Peoples Day began this morning with the celebration of a sunrise ceremony, on Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall, media reports said.
June was declared National Aboriginal History Month In 2009 following the passing of a unanimous motion in the House of Commons.
Since then during the month of June and June 21 every year, many Indigenous people and communities celebrate their culture and heritage and recognize.
More than 200 people, including Indigenous leaders and community members, Tory and councillors, City of Toronto staff and members of the general public, attended the 5:30 a.m. ceremony on Nathan Phillips Square.
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"Toronto joins cities across the country in celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day," said Mayor John Tory. "On June 21, we recognize and honour the important history, culture and outstanding contributions made by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to our city and to Canadian society."
The ceremony was led by Garry Sault and his Oshkaabewis (helpers), which included a sacred fire, smudging and singing with a hand drum.
the proclamation for Indigenous Peoples Day in Toronto was read by Tory.
The proclamation was then presented to Kenn Richard, Executive Director of Native Family and Child Services.
The ceremony was followed remarks from representatives of Mississaugas of the New Credit, Métis and Toronto's urban Indigenous community.
In honour of Indigenous Peoples Day, a medicine wheel, considered an emblem of North American Indigenous cultural values, tradition and spirituality was added to the Toronto sign on the square.
A new vinyl wrap resembling birch bark inlaid with symbols of significance for Indigenous communities was also added to the Toronto sign.
The latest phase of the City's Toronto for All public education campaign coincides with Indigenous Peoples Day and aims to raise awareness about Toronto's Indigenous heritage.
The campaign features a land acknowledgment statement to help to honour First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
The celebrations are being continued at Fort York National Historic Site with the four-day Indigenous Arts Festival, which is on now through June 24.
Performances by Indigenous artists, traditional and contemporary music, dance, visual arts, crafts and food are the the main features of the festival.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)