A day of celebration

National Aboriginal Day, National Public Service Week

His Honour Steven Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and CFB Esquimalt Base Commander, Capt(N) Craig Baines, paddle across Esquimalt harbour to A Jetty in a First Nations dugout canoe with eight First Nations paddlers.

Through the misty spray churned up by Firebrand’s hoses, a wooden craft slowly approached A jetty last Friday.

Propelling it through the harbour were 10 men of varying ages and strength, each pulling a brightly painted paddle through the water. As the black vessel, with a hand carved eagle mounted at the stern, pulled alongside A jetty, onlookers were able to see more clearly just who had arrived. The paddlers were Lieutenant Governor Steven Point, Base Commander Capt(N) Craig Baines, Inspector Steven Ing, George Taylor and the Le-la-la Dancers.

The guests were here to co-celebrate National Aboriginal Day and National Public Service Week with hundreds of DND employees.

The Le-la-la Dancers performed a series of ceremonial dances, including the Chief’s Peace dance. This dance symbolizes the trust between the local First Nations and the Canadian Forces, a dance few outside the First Nations community witness.

After the dances, LGov Point took the podium to address the crowd.

“We have every right to celebrate. We have every right to be proud of who we are; never forgetting our culture, but ever so willing to share that which we remember, and that which we know,” said LGov Point. “I believe these celebrations must continue not only because we have survived as a people, but because we’re going to march into the next century as a growing and thriving part of this country. We’re going to make a contribution to this country that will mark us as Canadians above and beyond.”

LGov Point reflected on a tumultuous past and described his vision for a better future for First Nations people.

“We can bemoan the past if we wish, and wish that it never happened, or we can stand on it and make a better future for our children,” he said. “That is my dream.

That Aboriginal people can walk away from the past, away from the poverty, and into a better future, for themselves and for our country.”

Capt(N) Baines spoke of the relationship between the Esquimalt and Salish First Nations, and the personnel of CFB Esquimalt and the Canadian Forces as a whole.

“It’s important that we recognized that we have a shared history. That we recognize the value of each other’s contributions and dignify each other by appearing here today,” said Capt(N) Baines.  “It’s very much the same as travelling by canoe, as I learned today. By getting aboard, we commit to a future where we all pull together, and support each other in whatever comes in our future.”

Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.