The communities of La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band are celebrating National Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The day has been celebrated on June 21 since 1996.

The event started with a pipe ceremony Monday morning and was then followed by a smudge walk and parade at 11.

The band’s chief Tammy Cook-Searson said the day is continuing with cultural activities on the band’s urban reserve in downtown La Ronge until 7 p.m.

“The types of activities we’re planning are to celebrate the Woodland Cree culture like trapping activities, there will be some animal calls, and we have some activities for families,” she said.

During the festivities, organizers are asking participants to wear orange.

“It’s honouring and remembering the residential school survivors and the ones that didn’t make it home, so that’s why we’re wearing orange,” Cook-Searson said. “And, it’s to show that every child matters.”

The tri-communities are hosting this event together after cancelling all Canada Day celebrations in honour of the children found in mass grave sites on the locations of residential schools across the country.

Cook-Searson said it’s important to celebrate Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the contributions, the rich history of Indigenous people in our country and on our traditional territories, and to celebrate the culture and the languages,” she said.

A firework show late into the evening will end the day-long celebration.

The fireworks will be shot from Patterson Park in La Ronge, but because June 21 is also the longest day of the year, Cook-Searson says she’s unsure what time they will begin.

(PHOTO: National Indigenous Peoples’ Day poster. Photo courtesy of Lac La Ronge Indian Band.)