A day to celebrate the First Peoples of Canada

June 19, 2020

At the beginning of every meeting, gathering, or assembly, as a District we always share one message: that we are honoured to work and learn on the traditional, unceded, ancestral territories of the: Matsqui, Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo First Nations.

National Indigenous Peoples Day, according to the Government of Canada’s website, “is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First NationsInuit and Métis peoples. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.”

The District has dedicated itself to Truth and Reconciliation, through events like Orange Shirt Day, or the Moosehide Campaign. The District also incorporates Aboriginal education in the classroom through the First People’s Principles of Learning. Cultural presentations are offered by members of local First Nations, and learning spaces that incorporate the First People’s Principles have been installed, such as the Moon Circle at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary.

This year we also hosted the Chief Dan George Travelling Exhibit at RE Mountain, with the help of two students, Lucas and Cole, their teacher Lesley Gunning, and Aboriginal Support Worker, Sam George.

“Our people worked this land for hundreds of years. We’re living on the land before they’ve lived. We walked where they walked. We’ve fished where they fished. We hunt where they’ve hunted. We enjoy the history that is so rich,” says Kwantlen Elder Lekeyten in his message for Indigenous People’s Day, alongside Elder, Cheryl Gabriel. “We have to look after each other better. Love one another.”

To see all of the videos the District has put out, some in partnership with the Kwantlen First Nation, to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day please view below:

Traditional Opening:

Message for National Indigenous People’s Day from Kwantlen First Nation Elders

“Opening the Door” mini-documentary created by RE Mountain student Nate Ezra: