Celebrations across Canada to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, June 21, 2019 9:08AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 21, 2019 2:03PM EDT
TORONTO -- Events were held across Canada on Friday to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day, including a sunrise ceremony in Toronto, a totem pole unveiling in Whitehorse and the renaming of a street in Montreal.
Toronto Mayor John Tory met with Indigenous leaders and community members during a traditional ceremony outside city hall that included singing, drumming and a sacred fire.
In a statement following the ceremony, Tory acknowledged Indigenous Peoples as the "original inhabitants of the land now known as Toronto," while noting efforts by the city to work toward reconciliation.
In Whitehorse, officials unveiled a restored version of a B.C. centennial totem pole alongside members of the late carver's family.
In Montreal, officials announced the renaming of Amherst Street to Atateken Street in honour of the local Indigenous population. Atateken is a Mohawk word that means brother and sister.
The street had long been named for the general who oversaw the capitulation of Montreal in September 1760 and was accused of using blankets he knew were contaminated with smallpox to quell Indigenous rebellions.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said the new name is a significant step towards reconciliation. The name will become official at the end of the summer.
In Gatineau, Que., Liberal MP William Amos unveiled an interactive map of Indigenous place names across the country.
Entitled "Stories from the Land," the map displays information on more than 780 place names in more than 65 Indigenous languages and dialects, according to a statement from Natural Resources Canada.
It contains detailed information on place name origins, including translated meanings and links to historical documents.