Tribal members are gathering to celebrate First Nations Day at State Capitol grounds

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Bismarck can get a glimpse of Native American culture at the state capitol tonight. This event is being held for the first time in North Dakota.

Being able to share one’s own history is important. First Nations Day is a way to honor indigenous people and educate the community about their culture.

“For this day, we want to bring forward who we represent. We want to represent and bring a platform to help educate society. It’s acknowledging that First Nation Peoples are validated, that we are important, just as everybody else is,” says Lorraine Davis, founder of Native American Community Co.

Davis says it’s important for the community to support events of appreciation and acknowledgment. She says learning about other cultures can be liberating.

“It’s so important that it is our own people’s voices that talk about our own stories, culture and languages,” says Davis.

The event will start with drums and prayer followed by popular community keynote and youth speakers. There will be five young people representing 5 different reservations. This will also serve as a leadership exercise for the kids.

“The different youth we selected will be carrying their flags while we do the prayer walk. They’ll basically be giving a speech and representing their reservations and talking to the people about what it means to be indigenous,” says Stuart Lohnas, Youth Cultural Coordinator.

Lohnas says it’s not only important for their youth to learn, but everyone should be open to learning about why each tribe is special. He says having support from the community can make a huge difference.

“A lot of troubles that happen in our communities with the youth start with lack of identity and it’s good for them to get rooted in their culture and understand where they come from,” says Lohnas.

This is the first time First Nations Day is being held in North Dakota, but Davis plans for this to be an annual event.

“We have many of Nations that are from outside of North Dakota that are in Bismarck Metropolitan area and thriving here so we want to bring our voices to the table,” says Davis. “First Nations People are all unique, we come from different tribes, we have different tribal languages, and that we want them to be honored.”

First Nations Day will be held tonight at the State Capitol grounds south entrance. It starts at 4 p.m. and will go until about 7 p.m.

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