Every year on June 21st, the summer solstice, Canada observes National Aboriginal Day in recognition of Aboriginal culture, honouring its vast richness and diversity. This year marks a special milestone as it is the twentieth anniversary of National Aboriginal Day.
The solstice was selected for this special day because of the significance that it holds for many Indigenous groups as the longest day of the year. Bissell Centre hosts annual celebrations on this day to honour our historic ties to the Aboriginal community and to promote its deep and beautiful culture.
“Aboriginal” is an umbrella term that includes the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples of Canada. A large proportion of the people who access Bissell’s services are of Aboriginal heritage because this population disproportionately struggles with homelessness and poverty. The causes of this phenomenon are complex and rooted in a history of systematic marginalization and discrimination.
Bissell Centre is a tireless advocate for Edmonton’s Aboriginal community, as it has been for many years. Celebrating Aboriginal culture at Bissell Centre is an important part of the work we do in support of the Indigenous community. It allows us to connect more deeply with our participants and offers them a space to celebrate their heritage.
This National Aboriginal Day, we are serving a special meal of stew and bannock at 10:00am, as well as running a number of activities in our Drop-in Centre, including:
- Blessing and smudging led by an Elder at 9:30am.
- Traditional drumming and dance at 11:00am.
- Indigenous art in the afternoon.
We are excited for these activities and hope that our friends in the community can join us to celebrate.
From all of us at Bissell Centre, Happy National Aboriginal Day!