Friday, July 19, 2024

Here’s how you can join Greater Victoria in honouring National Indigenous Peoples Day

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National Indigenous Peoples Day is just around the corner!

Stopping by local south island Indigenous businesses and attending celebratory events is a wonderful way to show ongoing support—especially while we work and play on on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen-speaking Coast Salish peoples!

National Indigenous Peoples Day is on Friday, June 21st, and will bring plenty of activities, as well as the perfect chance to support local Indigenous businesses in and around Victoria.

For those who may not know, National Indigenous Peoples Day is a celebration of Indigenous culture and resiliency—which greatly differs from National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in September, as that is a day of mourning the past and ongoing harms of colonialism.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was first recognized by the Government of Canada in 1996, though it was celebrated by Indigenous communities long before. It was in 2017 that the day was renamed from National Aboriginal Day to its current title.

It is a commemoration meant to spread hope, awareness, and appreciation!

Here’s how and where you can celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in and around Victoria on Friday, June 21st:

Events:

Royal Roads University – Lək̓ʷəŋən Homelands

Come and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with everyone on campus at Royal Roads Universtiy!

This spectacular event will feature a number of incredible activities and opportunities to engage, learn and honour our Indigenous community members.

It will kick off at 10 a.m. with Lekwungen dancers and singers as they perform on the shore stage!

The events following will include traditional plant walks with Cowichan Elder Kenneth Elliott, crafts, food vendors, a market with Indigenous artisans, creators and makers and more.

It’s open to everyone and admission is free!

  • Where: Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Road
  • When: Friday, June 21st from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) will be hosting an open house to honour the wonderful and incredibly talented Indigenous artists in the area!

Visitors will be greeted by a new acquisition on display in the lobby, a House Post entitled, Kiss the Sky by Coast Salish artist, Chris Paul.

This event is open to the public and admission is free!

Chris Paul, ‘Kiss The Sky’ (AGGV)
  • Where: AGGV, 1040 Moss Street
  • When: Friday, June 21st from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Quadra Village Community Centre

The Quadra Village Community Centre will be hosting a National Indigenous Peoples Day event with all sorts of goodies!

There will be free bannock and strawberries, an Indigenous market, The Bannock Room Food Truck, and the Wesetwind Intertribal Big Drum Family.

Bring your own chairs and water bottle to ensure you’re cozy and hydrated all day!

  • Where: Quadra Village Community Centre, 901 Kings Road
  • When: Friday, June 21st from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Indigenous Art & Storytelling

The Arts & Culture Colwood Society are hosting a series of Indigenous artist gatherings, and you’re invited!

If you miss Wednesday and Thursday’s events, Friday’s will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will also be an Art & Storytelling event the following day, Saturday, June 22nd from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Where: Arts & Culture Colwood Society, 3274 Anchorage Avenue, Colwood
  • When: Friday, June 21st from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Indigenous-owned businesses:

In addition to the list we’ll present to you, it’s also worth checking out the Indigenous business directory that the City of Victoria launched in early 2023—you can find businesses specializing in anything from construction to mural artistry.

Here’s 7 Indigenous businesses in and around Victoria:

Brianna Bear Art

Brianna Bear, formally Brianna Dick, is from the Songhees/Lekwungen Nation and is a working artist—creating anything from custom graphics to elaborate murals!

Although Bear doesn’t have an official storefront, her website contains a wide variety of items available for purchase, including masks, handbags, prints, and Kwetlal clothing.

Plus, she’ll be at the Quadra Village Community Centre’s event on Friday, June 21st from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.!


Skʷati Sῤaƛ̓ǝŋ: Songhees Cannabis

Skʷati Sῤaƛ̓ǝŋ is the Songhees Edition of popular Cannabis retailer, Seed & Stone.

They use their retail experience to showcase Songhees culture, art, and tourism initiatives while incorporating regulated cannabis education and training for our budtenders and customers!

  • Where: 1502 Admirals Road
  • When: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Campbell Visual Arts

Owned and operated by Michif (Métis) visual artist Jesse Campbell, he has worked on some of the largest projects in the region!

He has collaborated with many Indigenous and Metis artists since he began mural art in 2010 and is available for consultations if you’re looking for a quote on a big project—whatever it is, Jesse can handle it.

Campbell also spends a lot of time mentoring youth on the craft of mural painting and understanding the diverse forms of Indigenous art across North America!

Contact him here to set up a consultation.

Mural artist Jesse Campbell (Nelson International Mural Fest 2023 / Instagram)

The Native Plant Guy J.B. Williams

Definitely keep an eye on this one!

J.B. Williams, of Tsawout and Ahousat descent, is a creative and inspirational educator that works towards creating open spaces for everyone to learn and grow.

Services and workshop openings will regularly pop up on his Facebook page—including medicinal workshops, cedar weaving, canning workshops, and so much more!

Contact him directly at j.b.lewiswilliams@gmail.com if you have any questions about availability.

(John-Bradley Williams at SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet) / Satinflower Nurseries: Native Plants, Seeds & Consulting, Facebook)

The Eagle Feather Gallery is First Nations owned and located in Victoria’s old town Nootka Court, across from the Empress Hotel.

At each entrance to the historical courtyard, four totem poles stand proud and visitors can expect to find local artists and quality hand made artworks including wood carvings, masks, serigraph prints, and more!

Custom works and commission inquires are accepted by the feature artists.

They are open by appointment and they offer curb side delivery and international shipping.

Eagle Feather by Doug LaFortune, Coast Salish (Eagle Feather Gallery / Facebook)
  • Where: 633 Courtney Street
  • When: Open by appointment

Sidney Whale Watching

The Tsawout First Nation purchased Sidney Whale Watching Company in May 2023, which had been locally operated for nearly 20 years.

Sidney Whale Watching a half dozen people during peak times, using two 12-passenger boats to tour the Salish Sea. With the acquisition, the company will offer new employment and cultural opportunities for youth in the Tsawout First Nation community.

  • Where: 2537 Beacon Avenue in Sidney
  • When: Daily, book online

Pacheedaht Campground

As described, Pacheedaht means “Children of the sea foam,” and the campground is a stunning refection of this.

It’s owned and operated by the Pacheedaht First Nation and is located near the Gordon River trailhead, an access point to the renowned West Coast Trail!

If you wish to check it out and see this oasis for yourself, email them at camping@pacheedaht.ca or phone 1-250-647-0090.

  • Where: Port Renfrew, close to the Gordon River trailhead
  • When: Inquire for camping availability!

Victoria Buzz acknowledges and respects the Lekwungen Peoples, Songhees, Esquimalt, and W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations on whose traditional territory we operate.

We wish to both give our thanks and respect to the Indigenous Peoples’ beauty and resiliency, as well as actively grow in our knowledge of colonialism and how we, as settlers, can contribute to truth and reconciliation for the intergenerational harm inflicted.

Part of this is means finding ways in which we can show support for the initiatives underway by numerous Indigenous organizations—including youth services and support groups, Indigenous counselling, friendship centres and much more.

For this article, we’d like to highlight the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. They offer a number of different services including education and employment, youth, health and wellness, Indigenous culture, food security and more.

Additionally, their calendar of events allows their community members opportunities to connect, grow and have some fun!

If you wish to learn more and/or donate, you can visit their website.

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