Celebrate Aboriginal Day, the Solstice and Nature in Ottawa

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

Aboriginal Day

There’s much to be learned from aboriginal peoples’ relationship to the land and nature. Aboriginal Day was established to encourage people to find out more about aboriginal cultures, and several Ottawa events offer the opportunity to do just that. On Wednesday, June 20, 2012 from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, Aboriginal Experiences and Dovercourt Recreation Centre are holding an Aboriginal Day celebration in the park at 411 Dovercourt Avenue, with food, face painting, games, live music, drumming and dancing, art and a likely visit from the Governor General of Canada. Then the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) and several other aboriginal organizations are holding the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival and International Competition Pow Wow from June 21-24, 2012 at Vincent Massey Park. There’ll be tons of activities for all ages, from a planetarium and a giant polar bear to historic displays, art exhibits and workshops, an extensive line-up of performers and more. The Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival also takes place from June 18-24, 2012—it’s a brand new festival designed to showcase the work of local, national and international artists and promote understanding of indigenous cultures and issues.

Local Museum Events

It’s worth keeping an eye on events at Ottawa’s local museums and historic sites; many offer opportunities to explore nature. For example, you can join a Solstice Paddle on the Ottawa River at Pinhey’s Point on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 from 6:30-9 p.m. An interpreter will talk about the area’s history and geology. (You do have to provide your own canoe or kayak, paddles and life jackets.). Alternatively, you can find out about “Marvelous Mini-beasts”—i.e. beetles, June bugs and fireflies—at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum on Wednesday, June 20 or 27 from 7-9 p.m., or join them for Stars Alive! on Wednesday, June 20 at dusk for an evening of star gazing. Check the museums’ websites for details and costs (click on the museum’s name and then “Events and Programs”).


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