Mayor Scarpitti, Members of Council, City of Markham staff and First Nations representatives gathered at the Markham Civic Centre on June 21 to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day. The event featured a blessing of the land, a drum ceremony and a flag raising.

The annual celebration recognizes the important contributions of history, art and culture that Indigenous peoples have made to Canada.

“I am proud that the City of Markham joins the national celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day,” said Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

Mayor Scarpitti’s remarks also highlighted the City of Markham’s Cultural Collaboration with Eabametoong First Nation. Since the agreement was signed in January 2017, the city has embarked upon some ambitious initiatives and cultural exchanges to bring about change and a deeper understanding between First Nations and urban residents. Initiatives have included:

  • In April, students from Eabametoong First Nation participated in an art project that challenged the students to create an art piece depicting the future of their community in 10 years. Their artwork was displayed at the Markham Civic Centre, when a small group of students from their community participated in a three-day visit to Markham.
  • From June 16 to 18, Markham visitors travelled to Eabametoong First Nation to experience a Cultural Tourism Showcase that included local eco-tourism, indigenous culture and arts.
  • In September 2017, Markham 150 Expo will take place and be the City’s signature Canada 150 celebration that will feature local performances, vendors and activities that explore Canada’s past, present and future – including the country’s aboriginal roots.
  • City of Markham has recently selected the name “Aaniin” which means “hello” in Ojibway, for Markham’s newest community centre and library. The name was chosen to welcome Markham’s many diverse communities, to celebrate Canada’s 150 anniversary of Confederation, and to honour our First Nation’s people.
  • Markham Public Library has opened its doors to Eabametoong’s young people with digital access to Markham’s library collections.

Photo: Jacob Charles of Georgina Island First Nation performs a drum ceremony