A ceremony kicking off activities celebrating Indigenous History Month featuring Suzanne Smoke took place June 11. Smoke is Ginew Kwe, Golden Eagle Woman, a member of Mississauga’s of Rice Lake, Alderville First Nation, and a member of the Bear Clan.

Traditional Indigenous Strawberry Ceremony

Leading the Strawberry Ceremony, which was precluded by a traditional honour song, served as a reminder of keeping families and communities close. Strawberries are known as the Heart Berry among Indigenous peoples, serving as a reminder of reconciliation for them.

Attendees saw everyone receiving a strawberry and a small cup of water that was consumed in unison and following prayer in memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and young girls.

“We share this land and we are grateful to all who have come before us. As a country, we have an opportunity to reframe history and honour the experiences of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, while celebrating their heritage and outstanding achievements,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

The city’s historic 2017 accord with Eabametoong First Nation, known as Fort Hope is seeing a cultural partnership between our urban landscape and the remote northern community.

Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Members of Council, and Cathy Molloy of Markham Museum joined Smoke and members of both communities at the civic centre ceremony.

(Pictured Above: Mayor Frank Scarpitti with Suzanne Smoke and a young attendee of the Indigenous Month kick off ceremony, courtesy of Martin Kwok Photography).