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OCN gathers to celebrate National Aboriginal Day

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This Wednesday, National Aboriginal Day was celebrated on Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) as celebrations went underway at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre (GLMC). Originally planned to be celebrated at the OCN Arbor Site, rainy conditions had it moved to the GLMC.
It was here OCN celebrated National Aboriginal Day with various OCN organizations contributing, from OCN Recreation, OCN Junior Chief and Council, Chief and Council and others. During these celebrations there was smudging, pipe ceremonies, a feast, foot races, bingo, and speeches by OCN Chief and Council as well as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Amanda Lathlin.
“Right now the kids are having fun, the seniors are playing bingo, we’ll move into the adult races; everybody’s here to have fun to celebrate however we can, through races, bingo, whatever puts a smile on people’s faces,” said John Nasecapow, Councillor for OCN.
Nasecapow then talked about what National Aboriginal Day means to him.
“To me it means recognition, recognition in terms of us being the first people in Canada. It’s to celebrate your tradition, your culture, it’s what it needs to be,” said Nasecapow.
Coming on National Aboriginal Day was news that the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau intends to change the name of National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Peoples Day, a change that Nasecapow welcomes.
“It’s only right. It’s only right to be as aboriginals, Indigenous Peoples Day, it’s only the right protocol,” said Nasecapow, adding, “indigenous is being part of this place. We were here, we were here all the time and that’s indigenous to me, aboriginal is just another word.”
Trudeau didn’t clarify when the change would be made or if it would be in place for or prior to next years’ National Aboriginal Day.
Nasecapow remembers the very first National Aboriginal Day that was celebrated on OCN. Celebrations these days are much bigger than it was when it first got started on OCN.
“Compared to the first National Aboriginal Day here this was 50 times bigger, it’s getting bigger,” Nasecapow said.
Nasecapow also wanted to add that he does intend on expanding the National Aboriginal Day celebrations.
“I’m thinking maybe next year of incorporating fireworks, it’s something that we can look forward to,” explained Nasecapow.
It was a day of celebrations for OCN this Wednesday and there is much to look forward to at next year’s National Aboriginal Day or National Indigenous Peoples Day.

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Trevor Wright
REPORTER
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