National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Toronto included Sunrise ceremony, permanent installation of Indigenous flags
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Toronto, June 22 (IBNS): City of Toronto (which includes Toronto and its adjoining cities) celebrated 22nd National Aboriginal Day yesterday, accompanied by Sunrise ceremony and the permanent installation of Indigenous flags on the Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall, media reports said.
Following the passing of a unanimous motion in the House of Commons, National Aboriginal History Month was declared In June 2009.
Many Indigenous people and communities celebrate their culture and heritage during the month of June and on June 21 every year to recognize the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.
National Aboriginal Day ceremony, which started at 5:30 am on Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto was attended by approximately 200 people including Indigenous leaders and community members, members of City Council the public and City staff.
Steve Teekens, Executive Director of NaMeRes and his helper Oshkaabewis inaugurated he Sunrise Ceremony followed by a permanent commemorative installation of Indigenous flags including Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Six Nations, Huron-Wendat, Métis and Inuit.
“Today, Toronto joins cities across Canada in celebrating National Aboriginal Day,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. "As part of our recognition of the unique history, culture and significant contributions of Indigenous Peoples, we are proud to unfurl five permanent Indigenous flags here at Nathan Phillips Square."
After the ceremony and during the breakfast reception Andrea Chrisjohn, Executive Director of Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, delivered his presentation called Restoration of Identity, which is part of the Residential School Survivor Legacy Project.
The Restoration of Identity included an installation of a commemorative statue of a Turtle, as specified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action.
Proclamation for National Aboriginal Day in Toronto was then read by Mayor John Tory and presented it to Chrisjohn.
John Tory: Facebook
The proclamation is follows:
“WHEREAS National Aboriginal Day celebrates the rich culture, heritage and achievements of Indigenous Nations across Canada. It is also a time to focus on Truth and Reconciliation in order to restore peace, harmony, balance and to honour Canada’s First People while working to restore our relationships.
The City of Toronto is committed to working with indigenous communities to achieve Reconciliation in order to restore Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination.
NOW THEREFORE. I, Mayor John Tory, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim as June 21, 2017 as “National Aboriginal Day” in the city of Toronto.”
Participants then used a stencilled chalk drawing to the Moccasin Identifier Project on the podium roof ramp leading onto Nathan Phillips Square.
The moccasin markers are a reminder of Toronto City Hall’s pledge to follow traditional territory of Indigenous Peoples.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)