Hundreds took to Boitanio Park in Williams Lake following a parade Thursday morning to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities across Canada.
“Everything has been running so smooth. From the parade to the celebration in the park, to the performers and drummers, it’s an amazing turnout this year I’ve been told,” says Janet Smith, community services coordinator for the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) and first-time organizer of National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations.
“I wasn’t here last year. I just picked up this position three weeks ago so I had to throw everything I could together. There was a great foundation laid out and I just had to pick it up from there. I’ve already been taking notes of what we can pick up and what loose ends we can tie up so I’m hoping to be here to do this again next year.”
This year’s theme of the 22nd annual National Indigenous Peoples Day is unity.
“I can’t even begin to comment on how much that was accomplished,” says Smith.
“I’ve been getting comments from Chiefs and Council and community members and they’re just saying what a great turnout.”