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National Indigenous People’s Day

June 21, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

This day is designed as procession from acknowledgement, to commemoration, to celebration. We strive to interweave our cultural expressions so that all peoples of this land come together and witness, participate, and are moved by the significance of what the first day of summer represents to us all. As we learn from our past to understand today and envision tomorrow, it is vital that we do this together as New Brunswickers, as Canadians, on these lands we all choose to call ‘home’. Some of us have been of these lands for 13,000 years; others, for but 13 days. On this day, we acknowledge, commemorate, and celebrate how the rich history of these lands and peoples can guide us to becoming a stronger and more cohesive Canada today.



Of particular note for 2019 is that National Indigenous People’s Day in Saint John honours Gary Sappier, a man whose contributions to our region’s arts+culture, and to the growth of NIP Day in Saint John, have been immense. We welcome the community join with Gary’s family and friends, and artists of all walks of life, to honour Gary with great food and even better music – as Gary loved best. As has been the gold standard of the festivities hosted on this land, all elements of June 21st are hosted free of charge, and rain or shine.


The day will begin on the Indigenous lands of Elsipogtog with a Sunrise Ceremony and pancake breakfast. Following this, representatives will board buses to follow the Old Path as was once the manner in which those of Elsipogotog traveled to visit neighbouring regions, including that which is known by the Maliseet as ‘the land that is taken by the sea’: Saint John. These will be greeted upon arrival to the heart of Saint John by a female drumming circle. The activities proceed into the New Brunswick Museum – Musée Nouveau-Brunswick which is free admission on this day for all to partake of its versions of our province’s history.



A feature of the day is the adaptation of the blanket exercise to citizenship ceremony that is being developed. May 2019 saw a gathering during the Hope Restored: Symposium that was the first iteration of this mindful gesture to see us all actively honour that we are part of this land now by choice. June 21st is the second gathering to continue to develop this process, led by Marilyn Simon-Ingram of Elsipogtog. The blanket itself has become a literal and figurative symbol of this process: WE ARE ALL A PART OF THE FABRIC OF SOCIETY. Elders of Elsipogtog have crafted a quilt that was presented at the symposium. Hundreds upon hundreds of submissions of quilt squares from youth of southern New Brunswick were submitted, and select pieces were chosen to become part of this quilt. Likewise, the Saint John Newcomers’ Centre has been a site for people to craft their own quilt square. All of these squares will be presented to Elsipogtog Council to take back to the elders to finish making the quilt.



As we conclude the mindful exercise of the blanket as citizenship, a wood sculpture featuring carvings of the seven sacred teachings will be brought forward. It includes a special commemoration for Gary, and for understanding that all that is sacred is also never permanent in its form as we see it.




FINAL DRAFT AGENDA – June 21st, 2019


FINAL DRAFT AGENDA – June 21st, 2019
12:54pm Official Summer Solstice Time (sun reaches its most northern point; longest day of year)

2pm Arrival of Elsipogtog following Old Path to the Harbour of the Wolastoq, greeted by a group of female Indigenous drummers
Wellness Break: granola bars/fruit/water, body stretching and mindfulness exercise
-Market Square Boardwalk

2:15pm Free Admission to New Brunswick Museum – Musée Nouveau-Brunswick
Films at Mary Oland Theatre & Tours of Exhibits
-NBM-MNB, Market Square

3:30pm Continued Development: Adaptation of Blanket Exercise as Citizenship Ceremony, led by Elsipogtog elder Marilyn Simon-Ingram
-Loyalist Plaza, Market Square

4:30pm Wood Sculpture to Honour Gary Sappier Lit
-Loyalist Plaza, Market Square

4:45pm Smudging Ceremony AND Drummers
-Scène Market Square Boardwalk Stage

5pm Work Whistle Pulled & Moment of Silence for Gary Sappier
-Scène Market Square Boardwalk Stage

5pm Greetings from Representatives of the People and the Land (Dignitaries, Government Officials, Indigenous Councils)
-Scène Market Square Boardwalk Stage

5pm City of Saint John Mayor & Council Host Annual First Day of Summer BBQ
-Market Square

5:15pm Honour Song, Hubert Francis
-Scène Market Square Boardwalk Stage

5:30-8pm Live performances from Tobique & Elsipogtog Communities
-Scène Market Square Boardwalk Stage

6pm Bounce Rides, Face Painting, Cotton Candy, Cupcakes
-Market Square Boardwalk

8pm WTFunk performs
-Scène Market Square Boardwalk Stage

8pm Bus for Elsipogtog Departs
-TCC Entrance, Market Square – across from Hilton

DUSK Community Fireworks
-Launched adjacent to Market Square
Best view point: Market Square Boardwalk