Celebration and reflection marked National Indigenous Peoples Day in Chemainus Tuesday.
A great crowd turned out, primarily centred around the Waterwheel Park stage, for an afternoon program of speeches, ceremonial song and dance and musical performances.
A light rain only slightly interrupted the proceedings, forcing audience members to put up the umbrellas or take cover under the large trees on the site.
Opening speeches were followed by a jam-packed program featuring the Tzinqwa Singers, Stz’uminus Song and Dance, popular Ed Peekeekoot of Crofton, the Mitchell sisters, Cactus Cadillacs and Keanu Ienco.
The day also included the official opening of Wul’aam Park. Coast Salish elder Florence James of Penelakut Island gave a special prayer in Hul’q’umi’num and blessed the trail.
Signage includes trail names and descriptions developed with Penelakut School students and Penelakut elders, written in Hul’q’umi’num. Wul’aam Park means echo in Hul’q’umi’num, which was the original name given to the dedicated park space.
Raymond Tony Charlie appeared outside the Chemainus Valley Museum to sign copies of his book, In The Shadow of the Red Brick Building.
And, yes, there was food, too, to make the day complete.