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In celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), Indigenous Tourism BC and the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations are hosting the the sixth annual Victoria Indigenous Cultural Festival in downtown Victoria. The weekend-long event will feature Indigenous cultural tours, traditional Songhees eats, and song and dance performances at the Royal BC Museum outdoor plaza.
The festival kicks off on Friday (June 21) at 10:30 a.m. with a canoe-crossing protocol welcome in which each participating Indigenous canoe family will introduce themselves to guests. Performances will take place throughout the weekend from assembles like Answer Women’s Drum Group, a Victoria-based all-women drumming circle comprised of musicians from the Nuuchahnulth, Diné, Mohawk, M’iqmaw, Anishnawbe, Métis and Cree Nations. Other on-site activities include an artisan market and drum-making and weaving demonstrations.
Victoria Indigenous Cultural Festival organizers are hoping to attract an estimated 10,000 visitors per day. Linda Calla, the festival’s planner, expects a large number of people from outside Vancouver Island to be in attendance thanks to the arrival of nine cruise ships arriving in Victoria this weekend. “Victoria is a key gateway city in British Columbia,” she notes. “The festival provides an opportunity for visitors to get a glimpse of an authentic Indigenous experience.”
Founded in 2014, the Victoria Indigenous Cultural Festival offers B.C.’s Indigenous communities the chance to reclaim and renew their cultural identities, while educating others about their languages, cultures and traditions. Such opportunities are especially important given Canada’s historical mistreatment of its Indigenous peoples and its efforts in reconciliation.
When: From Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23Where: Outside the Royal BC Museum (675 Belleville St., Victoria)Entry: FreeMore Info: indigenousbc.com/things-to-do/events/2019-victoria-indigenous-cultural-festival/