This Tuesday marks an important day in Toronto as the city celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day.
A Sunrise Ceremony took place at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto around 5:30 a.m. on June 21 and was the first in three years. It was led by Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
\u201cInteresting event at Nathan Phillips Square this morning. A sunrise ceremony for National Indigenous Peoples day. @ontarionurses @OFLabour\u201d— DJ Sanderson, RN, ONA (@DJ Sanderson, RN, ONA) 1655817180
The Sunrise Ceremony was last celebrated in a public and group setting before the pandemic, so it was the first event since 2019.
The event honoured Indigenous traditions and cultures and featured "a traditional Water Ceremony and teachings from Knowledge Keeper Kim Wheatley and traditional drumming by Young Creek Drummers," according to a press release.
"This is an important occasion where we can come together as a community to celebrate, give thanks and reflect. I look forward to continuing to walk the path of friendship and healing together with the City, as it continues its journey towards reconciliation," said Chief R. Stacey Laforme, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
\u201cIt was an honour to experience the Sunrise Ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square! Thank you to Elder Garry Sault, Knowledge Keeper Kim Wheatley & Elder Catherine Brooks, who does incredible work here in #tostpauls as the Elder-in-Residence at St. Matthew\u2019s. #IndigenousPeoplesDay\u201d— Dr. Jill Andrew, PhD (she/her) (@Dr. Jill Andrew, PhD (she/her)) 1655819233
The special day goes back to 1996 when it was first proclaimed. It "celebrate[s] the unique heritage, diversity and valued contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Tkaronto and all of Turtle Island to help build stronger relationships with Indigenous communities, rooted in mutual respect and understanding."
Additionally, it's also a day to remember those who never made it home from residential schools and commit to progressing towards "justice and reconciliation in their memory."
"Today, we also reaffirm our commitment to advancing truth, justice and reconciliation, as well as working together with Indigenous community members and leaders to ensure Toronto is a place where Indigenous people can thrive," Mayor John Tory said.