Indigenous Culture Celebrated in Terrace

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It was a day of celebrating native culture at Terrace's George Little Park, as National Indigenous Peoples Day festivities were held Saturday.

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As in years past, the event was organized the Kermode Friendship Society, and executive director Cal Albright said this year's celebration took on special significance, with the Tears of Hope Society's March through the park in honour of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Among those marching were Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach, who is the NDP nominee for the upcoming federal election, and Michèle Audette, who was a commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

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Participants also had a chance to honour Doctor Joseph Gosnell -- the Nisga'a leader who was recently named chancellor of UNBC -- and to say goodbye to veteran MP Nathan Cullen, who is retiring from federal politics this fall.

Long-time CFNR Radio announcer "Wild" William Wesley was also honoured.

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[CFTK PHOTO:   Dr Joseph Gosnell, retiring MP Nathan Cullen, Kermode Friendship's Lynn Parker, "Wild" William Wesley of CFNR -- picture by Hillary Johnson]

"With the missing and murdered women's run that's in the park, and of course we honoured Dr Joe Gosnell, who is now the chancellor for UNBC, that was very special for us to just have him come to our community and attend this is unbelievable, and of course we said goodbye and showed our appreciation to Nathan Cullen who has been our MP for this area," said Albright.

The Terrace celebration was part of a series of events held throughout the weekend in many parts of Canada, to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Albright said he's glad governments at all levels are pursuing reconcilliation -- but much more needs to be done.

"It's a start -- of course only when First Nations are no longer in poverty and we're no longer at risk and our child welfare rates go down and our First Nations are at par with non-First Nations in education experiences, that is when I believe will be the outcome of Truth and Reconcilliation," he said.

MP Cullen agreed, saying whoever forms the next government will have to do much more to achieve real reconcilliation.

"What I hope for from anyone who forms power is to have more and deeper understanding of what reality is for indigenous Canadians, both living in the city and out here in rural Canada, and parts between, because it seems that Ottawa is in its bubble, doesn't really understand the desires of many indigenous communities and leaders to get something done, not just for their own people but for their neighbours as well," he said.