The future of the values of and way of life of First Nations and the need to nurture children for First Nations not to lose their identity was the main focus of celebrations marking the eighth annual “Aboriginal Day” celebrations on Saturday, June 21 at the Arbour pow wow park at the Ermineskin Reserve.
Barbara Larocque, in her speech representing Louis Bull Nation chief Rusty Threefingers, accused the Harper government of trampling on the treaty rights of First Nations by introducing legislation without consulting First Nations. She said Stephen Harper was coming to be known as the terminator of the rights of First Nations in Canada.
Reminding that treaties establishing the rights of First Nations in Canada were signed even before the founding of Canada as a country and she said Albertans and Canadians should know more about the contributions of First Nations to the history of the land.
Speaking on behalf of the Montana First Nation, Chief Bradley Rabbit gave his whole speech in Cree language before turning to English to explain his words. He said the way of life and the values of First Nations were there and it was up to the First Nations to practice them in order to maintain what they have inherited from their ancestors.
“The idea that we are losing our way of life is not true,” he said.
Conrad Young of the Samson Cree Nation said First Nations had to believe in each other and believe in children. “Our ancestors paved the way for us to be here and celebrate our heritage and we should ensure that our children will continue to protect that heritage” Young said.
Ermineskin Cree chief Craig Makinaw thanked the Creator for offering the beautiful day for the event and all the participants who gathered to mark the annual Aboriginal Day celebrations. The day continued with festive events with pow wow dances and many attractions for children.