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Indigenous organizations work to bring three days of cultural celebrations

Lheidli T’enneh First Nation is working in partnership with 2 Rivers Remix (2RMX) Moveable Feast, Northern Indigenous Arts Council (NIAC), and the Omineca Artist Run Centre Society (Omineca Arts) to bring Prince George and surrounding area Dune Lhuhuweẕdel, Indigenous Peoples’ Gathering, from June 21-23, 2023. This collaboration will offer a remarkable three-day celebration of Indigenous music and cultures.

The partnership will build upon Lheidli T’enneh’s annual National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) celebration on June 21. Thanks to the partnership with 2RMX Moveable Feast, NIAC, and Omineca Arts, the community will see an extension of music into the evening of June 21 as well as a full second day of outdoor performances on June 22. Both June 21 and 22 celebrations will be held at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park. The third day, June 23, will move indoors at the Omineca Arts Centre as part of their Open Mic Series in conjunction with an Indigenous group art exhibition throughout the month of June.

This year’s NIPD celebration will feature drumming, singing, dancing, Elders stories, displays, kids’ activities, artisan vendors and food vendors. Thanks to the 2RMX Moveable Feast, it will also feature an array of Indigenous performers new to Prince George and will be livestreamed on both June 21 and 22. The hybrid celebration can be enjoyed for free in person or virtually. NIAC, Omineca Arts, and 2RMX will continue the outdoor festival on June 22 and will also host various workshops over the three days.

The festival is committed to the creation and dissemination of innovative, vibrant, and diverse Indigenous art, with a strong focus on Northern BC. Northern artists will come together and inspire each other; it will be an avenue for cultural carriers to support the important work of inspiring of Indigenous people to learn and connect to cultural practices and art forms. Everyone will be welcome and as many barriers as possible will be removed or mitigated through free admission.

“Lheidli T’enneh has always welcomed others to our territory, and it has been a gathering place for thousands of years,” said Chief Dolleen Logan. “As such, we are thrilled to be hosting Dune
Lhuhuweẕdel, Indigenous Peoples’ Gathering, here on our territory with the kickoff being National Indigenous Peoples Day. We know how important it is to have access to Indigenous music, culture, and languages. National Indigenous Peoples Day provides a great opportunity each year to not only celebrate Indigenous history, culture, and traditions but to also help people better understand our history.”

2RMX Artistic Director, Meeka Morgan, said: “From our first years live and virtual, 2RMX has invited many northern artists to share their unique voice and experiences, and it was a dream then to bring 2RMX to Dakelh territory, and finally, with the support of the many organizations involved, we are able to witness that vision manifested! We are delighted to present and produce in collaboration with Lheidli T’enneh, NIAC and the Omineca Arts Center.”

The Northern Indigenous Arts Council (NIAC) is the only Indigenous Arts Council in Canada. They are a group of local Indigenous artists in Prince George, who have a vision of working collectively to achieve inclusive, accessible, and equitable opportunities for advancement of traditional and contemporary Indigenous arts and professional development opportunities.

NIAC President, Diane Levesque said, “over the past few years, NIAC has engaged with regional Indigenous artists and determined that there is a need for a multi-day arts festival to celebrate and support the work of Indigenous artists in Northern BC. We are thrilled to be hosting our first Northern Indigenous Arts Festival this June.”

The Omineca Artist Run Centre Society (Omineca Arts) is grateful to operate on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh and honoured to support the local community and surrounding nations through this partnership. The Omineca Arts operates an interdisciplinary, locally-led artist-run centre grounded in arts-based community development. Omineca Arts endeavours to ensure their work promotes, enhances and is respectful of the territory and the diversity of the regions Indigenous people and cultures. Omineca Arts offers a safe space and opportunity for innovative, multidisciplinary, collaborative, and marginalized art forms within the Omineca region.

2 Rivers Remix (2RMX) is a free annual multi-day feast of contemporary Indigenous music and culture, initially (2018-2019) hosted outdoors at Tl’kemtsin (aka Lytton BC) on Nlaka’pamux territory. 2RMX features all Indigenous-led musicians and artists – focusing on women, 2-Spirit, youth, Elders, and survivors – creating an environment of safety, tolerance, and value for all people. 2 Rivers Remix Society is a Non-Profit Society with majority First Nations directors and a mandate to educate, empower and inspire Indigenous people to tell their own stories through contemporary Indigenous cultural expression. One of the root systems of 2RMX is ‘The Movable Feast’, because of the catastrophic fire that destroyed the previous live festival site – along with 90% of Tl’kemtsin/Lytton. 2 Rivers Remix Society continues to support our affected Indigenous communities that have suffered from waves of the COVID pandemic, catastrophic wildfires/flooding/infrastructure destruction and the confirmations of thousands more unmarked graves at Indian Residential Schools across Turtle Island. The traveling Movable Feast model began in 2021, where the idea to build relationships and perform in communities had been in the works, but propelled into action because of these events.

While the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation is the official host of NIPD, this larger three day cultural celebration would not be possible without all the partners listed above as well as the participation from other nations in the region, and dozens of community partners such as the PG Native Friendship Center, the PG Metis Community Association, UNBC, CNC, School District 57, PGNAETA, Carrier Sekani Family Services, Intersect Youth & Family Services Society, Exploration Pace, the Prince George Public Library, Two Rivers Gallery, Huble Homestead, local Rotary branches, and many others who come together for the success of the event.

Full event details can be found at www.nipg.2rmx.ca.

Vendor applications can be found at www.niacpg.com with inquiries emailed to niacpg@gmail.com

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