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PHOTOS: Indigenous Peoples Day at Penticton's Okanagan Lake Park

Community gathers for ceremony, live entertainment

It was time for reflection in Penticton on Friday afternoon, June 21, when crowds gathered at Okanagan Lake Park to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.

Community leaders and elected officials welcomed members of the public for a ceremony, activities and live entertainment in honour of the annual event.

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel said the day should serve as a time to remember the challenges of the past, but also to reflect on the steps taken toward reconciliation in recent years.

"There's still a lot of challenges ahead of us and there always will be," Gabriel said on Friday while praising the "strong working relationship" the city and PIB continue to enjoy. "This relationship that we build with one another helps us meet those challenges head-on and move forward in a good way."

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been celebrated on June 21 across Canada since 1996.

Gatherings in Penticton on Friday were organized by the Ooknakane Friendship Centre, Penticton Indian Band, South Okanagan Similkameen Métis Association and the City of Penticton.

Festivities started at 1 p.m., with speeches and ceremonial songs.

"We can not move forward and build a future together if we don't first acknowledge where we came from and what we have done," said Penticton Mayor Julius Bloomfield. "In Penticton, we want to be at the forefront of that change, so on a day like today, we acknowledge where we are and where we can go if we work together."

The day was also marked with entertainment, with singing and dancing taking centre stage on the east side of Okanagan Lake Park.

Food trucks, vendors and educational booths were also open for the event until 4 p.m.

About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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