National Aboriginal Day is June 21, 2013. Established in 1996, it is a day designated by the Governor General of Canada for all Canadians to celebrate the cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their contributions to Canada.
Events will be held all over Canada. In honour of National Aboriginal Day, the CN Tower will light up yellow, dark blue, dark red and white.
CAMH celebrated this special day on Tuesday, June 18 with a National Aboriginal Day Celebration themed "A Celebration of Aboriginal Arts." The event featured the presentation of the 2013 Chapin A’sin Elder Vern Harper Award for Excellence in the Provision of Culturally–Based practice. There were also performances from SpiritWind a women’s hand drum group, Outside Looking In, an Indigenous Youth Dance Group, art displays, moccasin sales and craft vendors.
Alita Sauvé is presented with the 2013 Chapin A’sin Elder Vern Harper Award for Excellence in the Provision of Culturally–Based practice at CAMH’s National Aboriginal Day Celebration.
“For me, National Aboriginal Day celebrates the hospitality, strength, and perseverance of my ancestors,” says Margaret Robinson, CAMH Fellow in Community-Based Research & SAMI CIHR Affiliate Fellow with CAMH’s Health Systems and Health Equity Research Group. “As a holiday, it connects me with other Aboriginal people from across Canada, and recognizes our shared experience of colonialism, and our commitment to resistance.”
“National Aboriginal Day is a celebration of the values of our culture – Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth and Love,” says Bob Crawford, Therapist in CAMH’s Aboriginal Services. “In a sense it is a “giveaway celebration” to honour our neighbors here on Turtle Island.”
“National Aboriginal Day is the one day a year to connect and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal cultures,” says Alison Benedict, Program Consultant in Aboriginal Community Engagement with CAMH’s Provincial System Support Program. “It is the vibrant colours, the delicious food, the sounds of laughter and music. It is important for every organization to participate in the celebration to learn about, begin to understand and connect with the Aboriginal community.”
“It is an opportunity to value the cross-cultural bridging of past, present and future, while bringing together all the people from the four directions to celebrate Aboriginal cultures,” says Barbara Hurford, Social Worker with CAMH’s Aboriginal Services.