KAPUSKASING – Kapuskasing celebrated Canada's national Indigenous Day with its biggest celebration yet, taking place in the Circle on June 21.
Hosted by The Kapuskasing Friendship Centre in conjunction with a wide variety of community organizations, the event featured a wide array of activities, songs, dances, and more lasting from 1 to 8 pm.
“It was a great success for our first time going bigger,” said one of the event's organizers Marcia Chum. “We've had Indigenous Day Celebrations behind the Friendship Centre, but this was our first big one, and seeing all of the organizations and committees in our community come together to form one collaborative effort, it flowed so well, and was a wonderful experience. To see it happen was amazing.”
This year's celebration featured a variety of additions, Chum said.
“The Rocky Boy Drummers were new, having dancers and more entertainment,” she said. “We also had a variety of activities such as a moccasin making workshop, we had free food offered by the O'Briens Food Truck, and we featured a variety of community organization booths like North Claybelt, and North Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services (NEOFACS) among others.”
“NEOFACS definitely played a big part in things too,” said fellow organizer Jessie Jessie Chmilewski. “As did Habitat Interlude, the Town of Kapuskasing, and many more. The whole town pitched in, which was really awesome to see.”
Chum said that planning is already underway to host a similar celebration again next year.
“We've already started contacting other Indigenous acts, like A Tribe Called Red,” she said. “As well the Rocky Boys said they would be more than happy to come back too, so we already are planning for the next one. We want it bigger and better.”
The organizers expressed their thanks to all who helped make the event a success.
“We want to thank our sponsors, it was a community project everyone pitched in, the Friendship Centre was the hub but everyone pitched in to help,” Chum said.
She expressed thanks to Ontario Power Generation, First Nations Timber, and Rayonier for their donations.
“We also want to thank everyone for being very patient with us for closing off the Circle. The businesses in the Circle deserve a big thank you for that,” said Chmilewski.