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National Aboriginal Day celebrates First Nations’ heritage

First Nations celebrated their rich culture, families and identity through storytelling, music, singing, food and dance during National Aboriginal Day this past weekend across Canada and in British Columbia's capital.

Among other things, the festival celebrated First Nations' family history. Regalia, such as hand-carved masks, headdresses and button blankets adorned with feathers, pearls and abalone shells, were on display in Victoria. Traditional clothing was first created by the Northwest Coast people after contact with fur traders and explorers, who introduced wool blankets to them. Colourful ceremonial robes affixed with appliquéed crests are worn to potlatches, graduations, pole raisings, memorials, feasts and weddings.

The following portraits were taken during National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Victoria on June 21, 2014.

Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail

Matthew Everson

Matthew Everson, 9, a youth performer from Comox, B.C., has been dancing all of his life."I have fun dancing. I really enjoy it."

Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail

George Taylor

Le-La-La Dancers Director George Taylor, from the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation in Alert Bay, B.C.

"It's about sharing the spirit with all walks of life. There's a lot of misconceptions about our people. This is a positive step for our next generation. We should all respect each other's cultural beliefs and be positive in life."

Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail

Arizona Snow

Arizona Snow, 13, from the Lil'wat Nation, has been dancing since she was seven.

"I like the travelling and meeting new people."

Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail

Shenoa Snow

Shenoa Snow, 17, from the Lil'wat Nation, has been dancing since she was 3.

"It's something I've always done. I enjoy doing it and I get to meet a lot of people."

Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail

Amber Snow

Amber Snow, 11, from the Lil'wat Nation, has been dancing since she was 2.

"I get to learn more about my culture and improve my dancing."

Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail

Teddy Sampson

Esquimalt dancer Teddy Sampson, 28, from the Esquimalt and Songhees Nation, has been dancing since he was nine years old.

"It's about the energy, nothing comes between me and dancing. I get into the zone."

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