Aboriginal peoples celebrated at Port au Choix historic site
PORT AU CHOIX Parks Canada marked National Aboriginal Day at Port au Choix National Historic Site this week.
The site represents more than 5,500 years of human habitation and celebrates the vestiges of four ancient Aboriginal cultures. It also pays tribute to modern Aboriginal cultures and present-day residents.
June 21 was set aside as a day to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of our nation’s Aboriginal peoples. The Governor General first proclaimed National Aboriginal Day in 1996 to provide an opportunity to acknowledge the First Nations, Métis and Inuit for their unique achievements in a number of diverse fields and for their significant contributions towards Canada’s development and progress.
It officially opened the new visitor experience landscape features at the site, consisting of a Gathering Circle at the Maritime Archaic Burial Ground, a Dorset Doorway at Point Riche and a program shelter at Phillip’s Garden. In addition, it unveiled a new painting called “Cultural Layers of Port au Choix” by Mi’kmaq artist Jerry Evans, and sculptures by Inuit artist Michael Massie and Newfoundland artist Jim Maunder were also unveiled. All of these features will help people to connect with the story of Port au Choix’s heritage in a new and enhanced way.
In celebration of Parks Canada’s 100th anniversary this year, 100 students were also invited to take part in a walk to Phillip’s Garden where they participated in special activities including Aboriginal games. Performances by Aboriginal artists throughout the day’s events included Winston White, Inuit throat singer and drummer Lena Onalik, the Se'ta'newey Performance Choir and Drummers of Conne River, and the Bay of Islands Drummers.
A sunset ecumenical service was also held on the eve of National Aboriginal Day. On June 20, Aboriginal leaders, local clergy and local residents paid tribute to the ancestors of the various ancient Aboriginal cultures that have used the Port au Choix area as well as to the ancestors of modern Aboriginal cultures and local resident.
Students perform a friendship dance with members of the Se’ta’neway Performance Choir and Drummers from Conne River during Aboriginal Day celebrations at Port au Choix historic site.