For Immediate Release
June 23rd, 2014
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI– The Native Council of Prince Edward Island is very pleased with results regarding activities planned for National Aboriginal Day 2014.
While many Islanders and Canadians are celebrating the historic Charlottetown Conference, which led to Canadian Confederation, it was hoped that equal attention would be made to Aboriginal culture and contributions made by Aboriginals to the greater Island and Canadian society. Public officials and the general public responded to this call and attended festivities held in Victoria Park. The theme of this year's National Aboriginal Day was Mawnukuti'k [ Moou-nee-go-deigh ] – which is a Mi’kmaw term meaning, “together, we are growing.” It speaks to nurturing relationships with all levels of government and with other cultural groups, following the example of the historic relationship between the Mi’kmaw and Acadian peoples, which also factored into the day’s celebrations with the Conseil Acadien de Rustico being an event contributor.
Keptin John Joe Sark opened the day with a traditional Mi’kmaw Prayer and gifted the Native Council of PEI President and Chief, Jamie Thomas with an Eagle Feather. This is the highest honour bestowed upon an individual. " She represents our Native Peoples very well, a strong leader and dear friend" said Keptin Sark.
Mayor Stu MacFadyen represented the City of Charlottetown, MLA Buck Watts represented the Province of Prince Edward Island, MLA Steven Myers represented the Official Opposition and Daniel Cyr represented the Conseil Acadien de Rustico. All of the above offered heartfelt remarks and commented on the success of the event indicating the theme, Mawnukuti'k, being a great fit to the event's audience.
The Eagle Island Drummers and Dancers were on hand with the Sacred Mi’kmaw Honour Song and Native Dancing as well as more festive drumming and dancing later on.
A BBQ featuring hamburgers, hotdogs and steamed mussels was enjoyed by all. In regards to the 12th Annual Moccasin Walk for Diabetes Awareness, held prior to the main event, a Diabetic friendly cake was offered for desert.
The formal part of the day was followed by the 3rd Annual Indian Summer Games, along with face-painting brought by the Town of Stratford and other children’s activities.
In addition to the activities which took place in Victoria Park, the Native Council of Prince Edward Island also attended Parks Canada’s Learn-to-Camp program in Stanhope Campground, Prince Edward Island National Park, where they presented a Mi’kmaw story about Kitpu (the majestic American Bald Eagle) and the Great Flowers of Niskim (mighty sunflowers). The presentation came with a promotional kit featuring "Kitpu's Seeds" Children's activities and a link to a website where participants can further learn about Sunflower Project. This was presented with Parks Canada’s own interpreters using puppetry and animation accompanied by Mi’kmaw drumming around the campfire.
"The target market for Learn-to-Camp, is Newcomers to Canada and it was a great opportunity to share our Aboriginal Culture with these new Canadians on National Aboriginal Day. It is hoped that the little packets of sunflower seeds that were specially-prepared for the Learn-to-Camp participants, will be a legacy of Mawnukuti'k, our growing together across different cultures." Explains Andrew Sark, presenter and Director of Communication with the Native Council of PEI.
"National Aboriginal Day provides an ideal opportunity for the Native Council of Prince Edward Island to share the unique and diverse histories of the Aboriginal populations of Prince Edward Island with the general public. In spite of a wet and windy morning, many Islanders came out to enjoy the activities that were only made possible by the efforts of the staff and volunteers of the Native Council of Prince Edward Island,” explains Chief and President, Chief Jamie Thomas. “We were delighted to see many Islanders join us in Victoria Park for National Aboriginal Day and honoured to have been part of Parks Canada's Learn to Camp event "
The Native Council of Prince Edward Island represents all Aboriginal persons living off -reserve throughout Prince Edward Island. The Native Council of PEI, as a recognized Aboriginal Representative Organization, advocates for off-reserve Aboriginal peoples through assistance from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact Andrew Sark;
Andrew J. Sark
Native Council of P.E.I.
Director of Communications
and Records Management
TOLL FREE: 1-877-591-3003
FAX : 902-368-7464
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