Git Hayetsk, representing the traditional dances of the Haida, Haisla, Tahltan, Tlingit, Lil’wat and Musqueam nations, perform outside the Royal B.C. Museum at the 2017 Victoria Aboriginal Cultural Festival. This year’s event happens there June 21 to 23. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Nations gather for Indigenous cultural celebrations at Royal BC Museum

Songhees, Esquimalt host three-day international event featuring music, dancing and on-site artisans

Indigenous culture, values, language and cuisine will be celebrated and shared this June with the annual Victoria Indigenous Cultural Festival.

The festival is an opportunity to join the Songhees and Esquimalt nations in a three-day-long celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, which falls on Thursday, June 21. From the Thursday to Saturday, June 23 the grounds of the Royal BC Museum will be host to music, dance, food, vendors and art.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day recognizing the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Indigenous Peoples in Canada, first celebrated in 1996. This is the first year for its new name, as it has formerly been called National Aboriginal Day.

An outdoor stage in the museum’s plaza will see performances from the two local host nations, along with shows from Indigenous performers from across the province.

Indigenous artisans will also be on-site with carvings, prints, jewelry and more, all of which will be for sale. These artists will also host special demonstrations through which visitors can learn more about the creative process from the artisans themselves.

Food, care of the culinary talents of the Songhees Nation, will include BBQ salmon burgers, fry bread and a traditional clam chowder that is a perennial favourite at the festival.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is part of the Celebrate Canada program, which also includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and Canada Day (July 1).

Admission to the festival is free.

– Monday Magazine staff

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