Huntsville’s downtown businesses are being asked to dress up their storefronts, leading up to National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD).
The first display has already gone up at The Great Vine. It was created by Huntsville resident Joyce Crone, a Mohawk woman who is on the committee organizing Huntsville’s NIPD celebrations.
“We’re hoping other downtown businesses will be able to dress their windows with possibly drums, or even the colours of the medicine wheel, the names of the Seven Grandfather Teachings,” says Crone. “It really would be a highlight for Indigenous people and for teaching non-Indigenous people.”
The colours of the medicine wheel are yellow, red, black, and white. According to Crone, the colours represent several things to Indigenous Peoples such as the Annishnaabe and Ojibwe, including the cycle of life, the four seasons, four directions, and the four colours of man.
The Seven Grandfather Teachings are humility, bravery, honesty, wisdom, truth, respect, and love, each represented by a different animal.
It’s not the first time The Great Vine’s storefront has been decorated in such a fashion– in March, it was the site of a display honouring the people of Ukraine.
Catherine Cole, the store’s owner, says the size of its windows and its location downtown makes it well suited to host displays of this sort. She says she’s always happy to help educate the community.
“All of the windows that Joyce has been involved in have taught me something, or asked me to consider our position in our community, and to give voice to sometimes those who have not had a voice,” says Cole. “So I’m really grateful to be able to do that.”
Crone says businesses who want to decorate their storefront ahead of NIPD, but don’t know what to use or what is culturally appropriate, can consult with the town’s Program Coordinator Kayla Wadden at 705-789-6421 x3037, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The town is also providing medicine wheels to display on request.
On June 21 starting at 1:00 p.m., Huntsville will host a full itinerary of National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations at River Mill Park, with Indigenous food, arts, crafts, music, education, storytelling, and dance.
Crone encourages everyone to come out to the event if able.
“I think for Indigenous people, from our point of view it is a beautiful, honouring remembrance and celebration, and I feel for non-Indigenous people, it’s a time of learning,” says Crone. “The Town of Huntsville has done a great job organizing and putting the day together, so we’re hoping to get as many families, children, and people out to the park as possible.”