TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Jordan Soulier, 7, tries his hand at archery during Saturday’s festivities at École New Era School.
Teepees and music surrounded École New Era School grounds for this year’s National Aboriginal Day celebrations.
Colourful face paint adorns Alora Bunn as she participates in National Aboriginal Day festivities at École New Era School on Saturday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Siblings Declan and Dariyah McArthur rest on the floor of a teepee during Aboriginal Day festivities at École New Era School on Saturday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
2014 Juno Award nominee Desiree Dorion and Ray St. Germain, a Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer, performed during National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Riding Mountain National Park on Saturday. (SUBMITTED)
Alic and Yelana Verin of Israel enjoy National Aboriginal Day celebrations
in Riding Mountain National Park on Saturday. (SUBMITTED)
Mary Conway comes to Brandon’s Aboriginal Day events each year and displays her woven Métis sashes. She said that celebrating aboriginal and Métis culture is a great way of preserving important history lessons.
"I have five Métis children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren," Conway said Saturday. "It is important for them to understand and be proud of their heritage."
Each sash she weaves is different and tells a story. Conway shows on the sash how the second section from the outside shows the number of children in the family.
"The dots to the right of this line represent the number of sons," she said pointing at one of her creations. "And the ones on the left are the number of daughters."
Each sash is made of up to 166 strings and on average takes Conway a week to make.
"The Métis sash is the most important of Métis traditions," Conway said. "It is something that has been passed along through generations and tells stories."
Many other unique aboriginal traditions were on display throughout the event.
Chris Whaley is an archeologist who specializes in fur trade and pre-European contact artifacts.
He was at the event teaching people about arrowheads and how they are made. The entire time he spoke he was making an arrowhead with an antler and a chunk of glass.
"If someone brought me a variety of arrowheads and didn’t tell me where they were found, I would be able to tell from the type of materials and other particles," Whaley said.
Whaley has been interested in arrowheads since he found one on his property as a young child. He comes to Brandon’s Aboriginal Day festivities every year because he said the only thing left to do is pass on this knowledge.
Passing on knowledge and tradition is a big part of the annual celebrations. Booths displayed pictures and artifacts dating back more than 100 years.
Other highlights of the day included a powwow demonstration, square dancers and the Sweet Grass Ojibway Singers drum group.
National Aboriginal Day has been celebrated on June 21 throughout Canada since 1996. It is part of June’s Aboriginal History Month.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 23, 2014