BUFFALO JUMP! UNITY WALK March from Nathan Phillips Square (9 am) to a festival celebrating National Aboriginal Day at Trinity Bellwoods Park (noon to 5 pm, Queen and Strachan). Saturday (June 21). Free. 416-535-7974. Rating: NNNNN
What’s the plan?
First Nations share traditional teachings and legends with the people of all four directions. Some use June 21 to renew themselves spiritually and become introspective. But we do the opposite. The march includes stilt walkers, larger-than-life puppets, banners, people in traditional dress, drumming and singing.
Why is the buffalo so important?
The animal inhabited the central part of North America for thousands of years and provided the most significant form of survival for First Nations people – it was not just a source of food, but of housing, clothing, decoration and ceremonies. So we chose it as a focal point to reach out to all people of Turtle Island.
Will there be jumping?
Not really, but the event was inspired by some that took place at the Scarborough Bluffs in 1993. The community at Gabriel Dumont Non-Profit Homes built buffalo out of found materials and threw them over the bluff. They retrieved the materials and recycled them. That was inspirational.
What’s your First Nation heritage?
I can’t call myself Métis officially, although I acknowledge my Abenaki heritage two generations back.
What’s your favourite First Nations film?
Clearcut, with Graham Greene. It was made in the early 90s. He stands up to developers who have come into his community. When I was a kid, my favourite big-screen hero was Jeff Chandler, who often played First Nation characters. He turned out to be a Jewish gentleman from New York! I didn’t find that out until later.