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Monument unveiling in Red Deer on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Community celebration to be held at Shining Mountains Living Community Services
Preparations have been underway for the new Indigenous monument at Shining Mountains Living Community Services in Red Deer. (Photo from Shining Mountains Living Community Services on Facebook)

Monument unveiling in Red Deer on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Red Deer’s first ever Indigenous monument will be unveiled on Wednesday on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The monument will be installed outside Shining Mountains Living Community Services, at 4925 46th St., where a community gathering and barbecue will also be held to celebrate the day.

Executive director Raye St. Denys said the city was long overdue for a permanent monument to Indigenous people.

“If you drive through Red Deer there is no indication of Indigenous people living here. There is nothing about Indigenous people, and I’m not okay with that anymore,” St. Denys said.

She said events are held here to recognize the Indigenous population, but those are short lived.

“We’re done with being invisible. This (monument) will make it abundantly clear. It’s going to be very visible.”

St. Denys said the monument won’t be revealed until Wednesday, and hopefully it won’t be the last symbol to show that Indigenous people were here, and are here.

A welcome and prayer ceremony will commence at 10 a.m., followed by the reading of the declaration at 10:15 a.m., the unveiling of the monument at 10:25 a.m., and a brief history presentation at 10:35 a.m.

The community barbecue and gathering starts at 11 a.m, and the event will run until 2:30 p.m.

The federal government says National Indigenous Peoples Day is part of the Celebrate Canada program, which also includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and Canada Day on July 1.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is when Canada recognizes and celebrates the history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.

For generations, many Indigenous groups and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on June 21 or during that time of year because of the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

National Indigenous Peoples Day, was formerly announced in 1996 by then Gov. Gen. Roméo LeBlanc.

Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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