Band members, other natives, and the public in general are welcome to join in Upper Nicola's annual National Aboriginal Day celebration in Douglas Lake next Thursday.
Eva Tom, a member of the organizing committee, says the celebration will take place at the N'kwala ball field off Manuel Road as it has in past years. National Aboriginal Day is observed across the country on June 21.
Activities throughout the day include an obstacle course, craft table, children's games, a tug-of-war, horseshoes, and a watermelon relay. Tom promises a “mystery game” that will be revealed at the celebration as well.
Tom says there is no set agenda for the day although the celebration will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“We're open and flexible.”
Vendors are free to set up at the event and participants can introduce their own activities, she adds. Volunteers raising money on behalf of Upper Nicola's Little Britches Rodeo Club will also run a concession throughout the day.
Each year, a different group runs the concession to fundraise, Tom explains.
One attraction that will be absent from this year's celebration is traditional dancers. Tom says that although dancers performed in the past, they found the heat overwhelming.
Nevertheless, organizers expect more visitors than ever before, including students from School District 58, says Tom. She says about 250 people attended last year.
“We even had someone from Australia come last year,” Tom recalls.
“He just saw our sign and drove up.”
Tom says that different band organizations started meeting in late April to plan the celebration together.
According to Tom, the band has hosted a National Aboriginal Day event for the last several years. However, the celebration is open to all, she says.
“The band puts it together but everyone's welcome.
“We're just getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”
The N'kwala ball field is located off of Manuel Road. From Merritt, it can be reached by travelling north on Highway 5A, turning right onto Douglas Lake Road, and then left onto Manuel Road.