The third annual Indigenous Cultural Fair: Celebrate culture, support Art for Aid in Carleton Place

Posted on: April 17, 2024

The third annual Indigenous Cultural Fair will take place in Carleton Place on May 11 from 10am to 3pm. Admission to the event is free. The organizers extend a warm welcome to everyone and emphasize that spending time at the fair is a valuable way to show appreciation.

This community-led event raises funds for Art for Aid, an organization run by Indigenous artist Colleen Gray in Lanark County. Art for Aid collects and ships art supplies and supports winter outdoor learning programs in remote First Nations communities across Northern Canada. Art supplies can be expensive and difficult to obtain in many of these communities, and the organization believes art is both healing and culturally significant. Donations of art supplies, such as googly eyes, ribbon, pipe cleaners, watercolour paint, and paint brushes, will be collected for direct distribution to Indigenous schools, along with monetary donations to cover shipping costs.

Zion-Memorial United Church will once again host the cultural fair from 10am to 3pm. Activities will also be held at the Carleton Place Public Library and in the town park behind the library. Indigenous artists and artisans will sell their unique handmade wares in the church hall. There will be a wide variety of dream catchers, jewellery, books, paintings, cards, and beadwork, at various price points. The fair is taking place on the day before Mother’s Day, so attendees are encouraged to consider purchasing unique gifts from the artisans.

From 10am to 12pm, the Fair will feature free, authentic Indigenous children’s games grounded in traditional and contemporary cultures. These include Inuit leg wrestling, axe throwing, pick-up sticks, Anishinaabemowin language-based word searches, and rock painting. The organizers are seeking Indigenous youth and young adults to volunteer as game station leaders. No prior experience is necessary, and interested volunteers can contact Lisa at Volunteer opportunities are also available for non-Indigenous people.

The library will host a reading session with Indigenous authors Judi Merle and Karole Dumont at 1pm. After the readings, there will be time for questions and book sales.

In the trees beside the church, there will be a red dress display to honour murdered and missing Indigenous relatives, along with information about the Moosehide Campaign to end gender-based violence. Legacy of Hope will also be present to highlight their work with residential school survivors and education.

Two group art classes led by Indigenous artist Naomi Blondin are planned for the Fair. Pre-registration and a fee are required to cover workshop materials. Details can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

The Fair will feature drumming by the Lanark Drum Circle. Attendees are welcome to bring their own drums or simply come to listen and participate vocally. The songs are described as sacred prayers and a powerful form of healing. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided during the drumming session. More details will be posted on the Facebook event page.

The organizers look forward to seeing everyone on May 11 and encourage attendees to keep an open heart and listen. They conclude with a greeting in Anishinaabemowin: Gide’ aabijitoon bizindaman.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News