Toronto observes National Indigenous Peoples Day with annual Sunrise Ceremony

Indigenous Peoples Day sunrise ceremony. Image credit: X/@karenrestoule

Toronto/CMEDIA: The City of Toronto observed National Indigenous Peoples Day with its annual Sunrise Ceremony, an Anishinaabe tradition, at Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W. today at 5:30 a.m.

Paying tribute to Indigenous traditions and culture, the Sunrise Ceremony  expresses gratitude for all creation and embraces Mino Baamodziwin (The Good Life).

With Mishoomis Giizis (Grandfather Sun) providing light and warmth, attendees formed a circle, cleansed their spirits with sacred sage and participated in a pipe ritual with tobacco. 

Led by Elder Garry Sault and Fire Keeper Geoff Daybutch, the ceremony included hand drum singing and teachings from Grandmother Kim Wheatley. 

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow and members of Toronto City Council were in attendance to participate in the Sunrise Ceremony. 

An Indigenous feast available all attendees of the free event followed the ceremony. 

Included in the celebration were teachings and stories about the imagery on the Toronto sign by artist Joseph Sagaj (Anishinaabe, Neskantaga First Nation) and Dr. Gokoomis (Grandmother) Jacque(line) Lavallée (Shawanaga First Nation). 

Launched in 2022 in recognition of the UNESCO decade of Indigenous Languages, the Toronto Sign art by Joseph Sagaj has since augmented the visible presence of Indigenous culture at Nathan Phillips Square.