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'Bring the community together'

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting. Hoop dancers contorted their bodies to a rhythmic beat.

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.

Hoop dancers contorted their bodies to a rhythmic beat. Sharply dressed square dancers shuffled their bodies in unison. The aroma of bison meat permeated the air. This was the scene last Thursday at the Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre parking lot as residents gathered to laud First Nations culture at the National Aboriginal Day celebration. 'I feel it's important to bring the community together and to celebrate the unique and diverse traditions and talents of our aboriginal people,' said Dawn Cardell, program / events coordinator for the Friendship Centre. 'Bridging the gap between cultures' is the motto of the Friendship Centre. And the consensus among the racially diverse crowd of a few hundred people was that last week's festivities met that objective to a tee. One of the headline acts under the shade of a tent was Don Amero, a rising M_tis musician from Winnipeg who couldn't have been happier to share the day with Flin Flon. 'I think National Aboriginal Day is all about community coming together and supporting one another,' he said, 'and sort of bridging that gap between the non-aboriginal and aboriginal community, and this is a way to do it, to bring the people together.' A full-time musician for the past five years, Amero performed his own origional music, which he describes as 'life-inspired.' 'I think some of that does involve the culture and some of that does involve just my life stories and struggles,' he said. 'What I do musically, I wear my heart on my sleeve and that's something that I really hope I offer to people and that people will receive and be moved by.' While this marked Amero's first National Aboriginal Day performance in Flin Flon, another M_tis musician, Flin Flon's Ron Burwash, has become a fixture at the celebration. He returned again this year, belting out tunes with his guitar while wearing a shirt and ballcap bearing the M_tis 'infinity' logo. As he performed, Burwash had in mind the contributions M_tis people have made to Manitoba and Canada as well as his own impressive lineage. Among Burwash's deceased relatives are Louis Riel, the famed M_tis leader, Jean Baptiste Lagimodière, the first settler at the Red River Colony, and Cuthbert Grant, Jr., the first person to fly the M_tis flag. Adding to the festivities was another talented M_tis musician, Kimberley Dawn, the soulful voice behind Built That Way and Burn For You, among other memorable songs. See 'Drum..' on pg.5 Continued from pg.4 The Whispering Loons drum group from Cranberry Portage lent their presence to the event, as did powwow dangers, square dancers and fiddlers. And the limber members of the Nemihitowok Hoop Troop executed dances up to their usual high standard. Keeping the children busy were face-painting and games. And keeping everyone's stomachs full were complimentary bison burgers and hot dogs provided by the Lions Club. Adding to the cultural feel was a bright white tipi that stood off to the side as crowd members relaxed under the sun on picnic tables. Looking over the crowd, Amero observed how much closer aboriginal and non-aboriginal people have grown. 'I feel like we're on a new path, a new journey as a country together with aboriginal people,' he said. Proclaimed in 1996, National Aboriginal Day is commemorated each year on June 21, the first day of summer. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement to mark National Aboriginal Day: 'Today we celebrate the rich and diverse culture of our country's Aboriginal peoples and reflect upon the important role they have played and continue to play in shaping modern-day Canada. 'Aboriginal peoples have made immense contributions to our nation. First Nations fought as allies in the War of 1812 and in every major conflict since, and their cultures and traditions continue to be an integral part of Canadian identity. The enduring relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations is one based on mutual respect, friendship and support, and we are committed to working towards deepening this bond. 'Our government has made strengthening this relationship a priority. For instance, in 2008 we issued an historic apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, and in 2010, we endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. In January of this year, we also participated alongside First Nations in the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering to set the context for renewed collaboration. 'Moving forward, we will continue to build on these accomplishments in order to improve the lives of First Nations people across our country, and ensure that Aboriginal peoples benefit from full participation in the labour market and the same opportunities for self-sufficiency and prosperity as their fellow Canadians, including in the areas of health, training, education and governance. We will also continue to implement our Northern Strategy to benefit Aboriginal peoples living in Canada's North. 'I encourage all Canadians to share in the celebration of National Aboriginal Day by participating in the many events taking place today across the country.' Continued from pg.4 The Whispering Loons drum group from Cranberry Portage lent their presence to the event, as did powwow dancers, square dancers and fiddlers. And the limber members of the Nemihitowok Hoop Troop executed dances up to their usual high standard. Keeping the children busy were face-painting and games. And keeping everyone's stomachs full were complimentary bison burgers and hot dogs provided by the Lions Club. Adding to the cultural feel was a bright white tipi that stood off to the side as crowd members relaxed under the sun on picnic tables. Looking over the crowd, Amero observed how much closer aboriginal and non-aboriginal people have grown. 'I feel like we're on a new path, a new journey as a country together with aboriginal people,' he said. Proclaimed in 1996, National Aboriginal Day is commemorated each year on June 21, the first day of summer. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement to mark National Aboriginal Day: 'Today we celebrate the rich and diverse culture of our country's Aboriginal peoples and reflect upon the important role they have played and continue to play in shaping modern-day Canada. 'Aboriginal peoples have made immense contributions to our nation. First Nations fought as allies in the War of 1812 and in every major conflict since, and their cultures and traditions continue to be an integral part of Canadian identity. The enduring relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations is one based on mutual respect, friendship and support, and we are committed to working towards deepening this bond. 'Our government has made strengthening this relationship a priority. For instance, in 2008 we issued an historic apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, and in 2010, we endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. In January of this year, we also participated alongside First Nations in the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering to set the context for renewed collaboration. 'Moving forward, we will continue to build on these accomplishments in order to improve the lives of First Nations people across our country, and ensure that Aboriginal peoples benefit from full participation in the labour market and the same opportunities for self-sufficiency and prosperity as their fellow Canadians, including in the areas of health, training, education and governance. We will also continue to implement our Northern Strategy to benefit Aboriginal peoples living in Canada's North. 'I encourage all Canadians to share in the celebration of National Aboriginal Day by participating in the many events taking place today across the country.'