Good Day Brave Hearts
The celebration begins. June 21 is a special day for the Indigenous People of Canada. The longest day of the year marks the first day of summer and is celebrated by all of us, in one way or another.
From that mountain top hike to enjoy the view, to the joy of just being outside in the sunshine for a long summers day, the summer solstice is a celebration of light, sun, earth and summertime. It’s a day to be outside. A day that is given to us to enjoy the light. Enjoy the sun, the sunshine and celebrate the beginning of summer.
The warm summer sun washes us and frees us of the chill of winter. Our clothing is light and we shed the winter coat of down, fur, or layers that protect us all winter long. We can swim in the warm lakes and bask in the warm sun. Sun worshippers are we.
Add to the joy of just another summer solstice, the longest day of the year is also a celebration of Indigenous Peoples, who also long to enjoy the warm summer sunshine, to feel the warm summer breeze and to cast off the cold, winter’s night that is always too long. The sun is rising and in some parts of our world it will not set at all. With thanks, we celebrate this new light show. Gone are the Northern Lights, now it’s only the sun, for twenty four hours a day. We are nearly at the Arctic Circle.
This beautiful little town of Dawson City is a gem in the Yukon. A bright and prosperous mining town, still selling nuggets of gold and revelling in the gold rush days. It’s a place of history, of champions, of people who made a living in a harsh reality that was the gold rush. It was not an easy place to be. The history of this divine place is of hardship, strife, difficulty and doom It’s also a history of fantastic fortune, of fun and folly and of clever enterprise. It’s a brilliant story, way up in the north. A booming small town, still gold rush rich, it oozes the gold rush days. Fine buildings in immaculate condition, brightly painted and artistically designed. This was a place of privilege and so it goes. There’s still gold in those hills.
The other rich, is the people. A fine and determined group of settlers who wouldn’t leave this place, and a fine and determined group of Indigenous people who already belonged to it. They belong to the land, it is theirs, it belongs to us. The age old right of occupancy, of who fits in and where. The right of the Indigenous clans to keep what’s theirs, the right of the settlers to occupy for prosperity. It’s what needs are. There is gold here, we stay.
The celebration is of fine minds, of people who care for this awesome and inspiring place. It’s a celebration of music, of stories, of plays, fun and food. It’s a day long celebration of praise for the people. It’s a day of necessity. Take the day, enjoy the music, indulge in the goodness of this day. A day for praise, for harmony, for joy. It instills the self worth that is necessary. We are one, we are whole, we are a people.
Joy to us, for this great day of celebration. It’s a fine day, for fine people. Happy are we, for the joy that it gives us. Happy are we for the celebration. Happy are we for the summer solstice and for Indigenous Peoples Day.
written by Dr. Louise Hayes
June 26, 2023