Today is National Aboriginal Day and colourful celebrations are in the works for both Brandon and Riding Mountain National Park.
The 18th annual event in Brandon will take place at New Era School. Celebrations include a powwow demonstration, drum group, square dancers and an artifact exhibit.
"This gives the community a chance to learn more about the culture and such an important part of Canadian history," said Barry French, vice-chair of the planning committee.
This is a community-driven event, with a good mix of people that help with the long planning process, he said.
Opening ceremonies start at noon and activities continue until 8 p.m.
"We are hoping to attract more of the new Canadian population in Brandon to the event," French said "This is a great opportunity for them to experience this unique culture."
Brandon’s Aboriginal Day events usually see between 600 and 800 visitors throughout the day.
Riding Mountain National Park will also host celebrations, kicking off with a powwow in front of the visitors centre at 10 a.m.
"We are proud to showcase local and international talent celebrating aboriginal culture," park superintendent Michaela Kent said.
"There is a full day of activities planned for people of all ages, so come on out, bring your lawn chair and enjoy the day in a great setting."
The event will continue near the bandstand and a stage is set up for three Manitoba performers — Eagle and Hawk, Ray St. Germain and Desiree Dorion.
Riding Mountain has been working with First Nations in the area since 2006 to better working relationships and increase partnerships.
The Coalition of First Nations with Interests in Riding Mountain National Park is pleased to be have partnered with Parks Canada to put on today’s events.
"Aboriginal people are honoured to have such a day dedicated to them," said Dwayne Blackbird, co-ordinator for the coalition. "It’s a time to be thankful for what we have in our culture and it’s a time to share it as well."
Events will wrap up in the park at 4 p.m.
June 21 is celebrated across Canada as National Aboriginal Day and part of Aboriginal History Month.
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