Chief Kevin Hart, Manitoba Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations of Canada, and Algonquin Hoop Dancer Mariah Smith Chabot were special guests representing Canada at the historic celebration of First Peoples’ Day in Trinidad and Tobago on Friday.
It was the first time First Peoples’ Day was officially recognized as a public holiday in Trinidad and Tobago.
Carla Hogan Rufelds, High Commissioner for Canada to Trinidad and Tobago , who attended the celebrations in the town of Arima in Trinidad, said she was struck by the spirituality and majesty of the event – “from the smoke ceremony at the Hyarima Statue, to the walk through Arima to the wonderful ceremony that was held at the veledrome.”
She expressed the hope that the recognition demonstrated on this holiday will continue on into the future and said she was looking forward watching the progress of the Heritage Village which is to be constructed in the near future.
A press release from the Canadian High Commission in Port of Spain noted that the High Commission had worked with the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community in Trinidad, the Assembly of First Nations and Aboriginal Experiences in Canada to ensure that Chief Kevin Hart and Mariah Smith Chabot were in Trinidad and Tobago for the celebration.