Celebrating Winnipeg’s Aboriginal culture

ONLY IN THE PEG, Tourism Winnipeg

Did you know that more First Nations and Métis people live in Winnipeg than in any other city in the country? National Aboriginal Day is just around the corner (June 21), and we’re getting in the spirit by venturing out and exploring what’s going on in terms of celebrations, events and culture.

Today we took a break for a family lunch out at Neechi Commons over at 865 Main Street. The Commons is a combination bakery, grocery store, art and craft boutique, as well as second-level Tansi Café and Restaurant, and my goodness, the food was fantastic. After much deliberation over the AboriginalFood_OnlyInThePeg_300numerous nom-alicious options, Mr. and I both opted for the Bonnie Burger—an incredible, tastes-like-home, mammoth of a meal with a bison and pork patty, spinach, Manitoba goat cheese and more. The fries were amazing too. ‘Lil Peg opted for the wild rice and sweet potato croquettes, which looked every bit as delicious as they sound.

There’s an extensive grocery store on site full of fresh produce and specialty products including local freshwater fish, Manitoba jams, syrups, dressings, cheeses and tea; fair trade coffee; homemade banana bread and bannock. Upstairs is a fantastic art store and gallery where there’s everything from beautiful handcrafted moccasins to jewellery and dream catchers, original art and prints, books, CDs, bags and uniquely designed blankets.

Neechi Commons is a treasure of Aboriginal art, food, and culture, and is definitely worth a visit. Especially with National Aboriginal Day Live coming up on June 21!

The Forks will feature a free evening concert beginning at 8 p.m., showcasing some of the most celebrated names in Aboriginal television and music, including both award-winning and up-and-coming artists. Billy Ray Cyrus will be on the bill, as well as Leonard Sumner, Lightning Cloud from LA, and more. The celebrations will take place throughout the day: Celebration Village will welcome everyone to The Forks beginning at 11 a.m., with the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Cultural Stages, featuring rotating performances paired with select cultural areas throughout the day.AboriginalCrafts_OnlyInThePeg_300

You’ll be able to experience the cultural and traditions of the Mi’kmaq Nation from Nova Scotia and listen to the songs of up-and-coming Manitoba musicians on the First Nations Stage, and the beauty of Inuit art and culture on the Inuit Stage. Fiddles and jigging will will the Métis Stage with infectious energy. The expanse of green space at The Forks will be filled with artisans, vendors, and a pop-up market of hand-selected Aboriginal creatives and makers. The evening will end with a glittering display of fireworks. And that’s not to mention the Manito Ahbee competition Pow Wow!

Further down the summer road, Aboriginal Music Week will take place Aug. 20 to 24, a music festival celebrating Native, Métis, Inuit, and Indigenous artists who perform hip hop, electronic, traditional, world, folk, rock, country, and blues music. And Sept. 10 to 14 brings the Manito-Ahbee festival itself, a gathering that celebrates Indigenous culture and heritage to unify, educate and inspire.

Winnipeg has a rich Aboriginal culture, and festivals, celebrations, and specialty stores to celebrate it. Get out there this summer and dive into what’s right on our doorstep!

— Visit Only in the Peg

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