Aboriginal Cultural Festival celebrates Vancouver Island First Nations

A multi-day festival highlighting aboriginal culture kicks off this Friday at the Royal B.C. Museum

  • Jun. 16, 2015 5:00 a.m.

A multi-day festival highlighting aboriginal culture kicks off this Friday at the Royal B.C. Museum in celebration of National Aboriginal Day.

The 2015 Aboriginal Cultural Festival celebrates Vancouver Island’s three First Nations communities: the Coast Salish First Nations and the Nuu-Chah-Nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations.

As part of the free three-day event, there will be performances by more than 45 performers, including Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, the Esquimalt Singers & Dancers, Le-La-La Dancers from Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, Tzinquaw Dancers and three-time world hoop dancer champion Alex Wells.

There will also be an artist market featuring authentic indigenous arts and crafts, wood carving and drum-making demonstrations, authentic Aboriginal cuisine and storytelling.

This is the second year the festival will be put on outside the museum and organizers are expecting to draw more than 10,000 people over the weekend.

“[Participants] are going to experience the diverse cultures that B.C. has to offer,” said Paula Amos, director of operations and partnerships with Aboriginal Tourism B.C., who organized the event.

“It’s a day for us to celebrate who we are, the diversity of our cultures, the resilience of our cultures that comes from our history and how we’re still here strong, and passing on our culture to the next generations.”

According to Keith Henry, CEO of Aboriginal Tourism B.C., this weekend is the

perfect opportunity to celebrate their culture.

“There’s never been a more important time to celebrate National Aboriginal Day in light of the recent Truth and Reconciliation recommendations. I think this is the day where British Columbians and Canadians can really get out and learn a little more about the true history and stories of the land that we all live on in Canada today,” said Henry.

Earlier this month, the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report calling the treatment of First Cations children at residential schools a “cultural genocide,” and included 94 recommendations, such as launching a national inquiry to investigate the violence and its relationship to the “intergenerational legacy of residential schools.”

The festival will kick off this Friday (June 19) at 11 a.m. outside the Royal B.C. Museum. For more information on events, visit aboriginalbc.com.