National Aboriginal Day celebrated in Loretteville

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Photo: Juanita Craig

The National Aboriginal Day opening ceremony began with a prayer by Elisabeth Ashini whose presence was supported by (from the left) Monique Collard, coordinator of the Child Action Community program at the Centre d’Amitié Autochtone de Québec (CAAQ); Jocelyne Gros Louis, general director of CAAQ; and Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation Konrad Sioui.

"Mamu Menuatetau. Come and celebrate together,” were the words used to encourage people to attend the National Aboriginal Day celebrations at Café Roreke in Loretteville on Wednesday, June 21.
The official ceremony began just before noon with a prayer by Innu elder Elisabeth Ashini, who is originally from Schefferville. After the prayer, Ashini acknowledged the challenges that Aboriginal communities face on an ongoing basis but subtly pointing out the importance of being proud of one’s origins by stating, “We are Aboriginal and every day is our day.” 
Huron-Wendat Grand Chef Konrad Sioui stressed the importance of positive events such as National Aboriginal Day for Aboriginal communities. “Here we are, all gathered together. One large circle of people where everybody is welcome in a meeting of spirits and hearts. It is through working on happiness, on joy, on light, and focusing on the positives is where the beauty of life is found. This is what Elisabeth’s message was today in her prayer.”
Following the official opening ceremony, a free community lunch was served. On the menu were bear and beaver meat, bannock, moose meat loaf, tasty homemade fruit pies, soup and hotdogs. After lunch, there were music and dance performances by the Huron-Wendat Isabelle Gros Louis troupe. 
Very much a family affair, children were entertained by pony rides, a roaming pig, hen and goat, as well as face painting, a jumping castle and a bubble machine.
Café Roreke offers buffet lunches from Monday to Friday. For more information on their daily buffet menu, visit caferoreke.com or call (418) 845 5898.
 
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The Huron-Wendat Isabelle Gros-Louis dance troupe and drummers entertained during the National Aboriginal Day activities in Loretteville.  Photo by Juanita Craig
 
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Before the official opening ceremony took place, children enjoyed pony rides, playing with animals, getting their faces painted, jumping on a bouncy castle and amusing themselves with the bubble machine.   Photo by Juanita Craig