Celebrating living heritage, honouring the past: National Aboriginal Day

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Kate Aley

Logo of the First Nations tribe in the Municipality of Pontiac.

June 21 is Canada's National Aboriginal Day (NAD), created to recognize the history, culture and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. According to the Indigenous and Northern Affairs page of Canada.ca website, the Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous Peoples.

Pontiac 2020.ca asked Quyon's Garry Belair, Chief White Owl, now in his fifth year of leadership of the Pontiac Algonkin Outaouais tribe, to explain the significance of the day.


Garry Belair, Chief White Owl with two moose-hide drums

P2020.ca: What does NAD symbolize?

Garry Belair: It was created to recognize the First Nations' contributions to this country and all that indigenous people did for Canada. 

P2020.ca: Why isn't NAD more widely known?

GB: It was something kept hush-hush for a long time. Before 1996, people weren't declaring themselves to be aboriginal [if they lived] off reserve. You weren't talking about it. It's just that there was a bad reputation about native people. Other people in Canada used to think of them as people on welfare, abusing the system, free-loading on the government.


The feather is a deeply siginificant symbol for First Nations.

P2020.ca: What has changed?

GB: Now with the revelations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), we know what happened to the native people [in an attempt] to abolish them. They recognize it more, the rights of native people. The [findings from] the TRC were a big part of the recognition of the native people. Now a lot of people are going to the "red road", that's what we call it, seeking spiritual guidance from the First Nations culture. People are really seeking it [...] both non-native people and native people [who don't know about their native background]. We've been doing a lot of research, [making] family trees. People want to find out their roots, it's something to be proud of now.


Beautiful skies for the summer solstice

P2020.ca: Personally, how do you see Aboriginal Day?

GB: It's a day of thinking about our elders, thanking them for what they did for us and for what we have today. It's also a way to say thank you to the greater spirits for what they have given us. The 21st of June is the longest day of the year; that's why they gave us that day [for the NAD], because we always used to use that day for our celebrations.

Today there will be a spiritual ceremony on Victoria Island. There's always a big ceremony there, every different tribe comes to celebrate in their own way; smudging, drumming to celebrate that day. We thank Mother Earth and Father sun, because we are grateful for what they've given us.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Riding in style: massive upgrade to Pontiac bus route

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Kate Aley

It's smooth and it's quiet with internet access, a 36" flat screen TV and reclining seats and it leaves Allumette Island at 10 minutes to 5 am every day. This is the new coach that runs Route 148 and you can be on it. This week, riders taking the Campeau Bus Line to the city were treated to a brand-new luxury coach, a demonstration vehicle in service before the permanent vehicle becomes available in about a weeks time.

Slipping back: background facts

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Kate Aley

Welcome back. While I wait for my file on the accident (December 4) to be retrieved by the MRC des Collines police, I placed calls to two local people, experts on the trucking of manure. For those who are coming in late to this, see my previous "slippery" stories archived here.

Slippery story: the update

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Kate Aley

On Monday December 4, a serious accident was caused by some kind of slippery fluid being splashed all over the highway in Luskville. Many people commented on the unexpectedly deep puddles, the effort it took to stay on the road and the horrible stink of it. There was so much, a snow plow was called in to strip it off the road. What was that stuff? Where did it come from? I managed to find someone to talk to from the MTQ within two days. But as yet, my attempts to get information about this incident from the MRC des Collines police have been unproductive. 

Warming up for Christmas at the Santa Claus Parade

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Kate Aley

Once more the Quyon Lions' Club Santa Claus Parade, held Saturday December 9, was a great success. Warmly-dressed families lined the streets to enjoy the decorated floats, horses and of course, St. Nick himself. As the Beach Barn is conspicuously absent this year, the parade's normal route was reversed, with participants gathering at the Ste. Marie's Catholic church parking lot and walking down the hill to the intersection with Clarendon. From there, the parade continued to the Onslow Elementary School gym where hot food and drinks were served as kids lined up to speak to Santa about a few important matters.

Slippery sh*t: unidentified effluent causes accident

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Kate Aley

A serious single-vehicle roll-over was caused early morning on December 4 by a deep slick of some kind of waste matter spilled on Highway 148 near Parker Road in Luskville. Pools of what appeared to be septic waste or liquid animal manure were at least two or three meters in length and possibly 4 cm in depth, according to witnesses.

Christmas House Tour lights up the night

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Kate Aley

The houses on the Quyon Pastoral Charge Christmas House Tour warmly received 150 visitors this year. Five family homes in Quyon and Luskville were decorated to perfection to the appreciation of all. Above, the Draper homestead in Luskville.

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