Celebrating living heritage, honouring the past: National Aboriginal Day



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

Online Survey: Benefiting from Nature in the Pontiac


Do you spend time outside enjoying nature?  If so, McGill University PhD student Dalal Hanna would love to hear from you in an anonymous online survey.  She is conducting a research project on the diverse ways people living in the regions of Bristol and Pontiac benefit from nature, and how they would ideally like to benefit from nature in the future. Dalal does this research because it generates information that can help society come up with improved ways to manage the diverse benefits we get from nature. The project seeks to improve knowledge and is purely academic.

The summarized and anonymous findings of the project will also be shared with your community in December 2018 at a gathering, and made available publicly online and to local land use planners.  

Sondage: profiter de la nature dans le Pontiac


Est-ce que vous passez du temps à apprécier la nature ? Si oui, une étudiante au doctorat à l’Université McGill, Dalal Hanna, a un sondage web anonyme à vous proposer. Elle fait présentement de la recherche sur les diverses façons dont les gens des régions de Bristol et de Pontiac profitent de la nature, et comment ils aimeraient idéalement profiter de la nature dans le futur. Dalal fait cette recherche parce que ça génère de l’information qui peut aider la société à développer des meilleures façons de gérer l’environnent. Son projet cherche à améliorer les connaissances, et est purement académique.

Un sommaire anonyme des résultats sera partagé dans votre communauté en Décembre 2018, ainsi que disponible en ligne.

Si ce projet vous intéresse, s’il vous plait visitez le sondage en ligne ici :


Le sondage prend environ 30 minutes à compléter.

Si vous avez des questions, n’hésitez pas à contacter Dalal Hanna par courriel (dalal.hanna@mail.mcgill.ca). Vous pouvez aussi contacter son superviseur de doctorat, Elena Bennett (elena.bennett@mcgill.ca).

Merci énormément pour votre temps !

Early Morning Blaze Destroys Barn in Luskville



Thomas Soulière

Pontiac2020.ca reader Nina Lépine-Forget alerted us to the fire and sent us this image of the blaze taken just before the arrival of firefighters to the scene

An early morning fire completely destroyed a barn on a farm located at 2002 route 148 (chemin Eardley) in the Luskville sector in the Municipality of Pontiac Monday.

Le tour des jardins et cadeaux du Pontiac


Le tour des jardins et cadeaux du Pontiac est une visite auto-guidée de neuf jardins champêtres. L’accent porte sur les méthodes écologiques, les aménagements favorisant la biodiversité et les plantes indigènes. Des artisans du Pontiac seront sur place pour vous faire découvrir leur art, livres et cartes. Les jardiniers vous proposeront quant à eux, des légumes écologiques, des semences et des plantes, ainsi que des tisanes, paniers et différents produits de leur terroir.

Great gardens and gorgeous gifts on tour


Pontiac Gardens and Gifts is a self-guided garden tour featuring nine country gardens in West Quebec’s beautiful Pontiac region. The focus is on organic techniques, wildlife-friendly designs and native plants. In addition, regional artists and artisans will sell their art, books and cards. Some gardens will be selling nursery stock and seeds, organic produce, herbal products and more.