From 8 July to 10 July, the 16th edition of the First Nations Great Summer Gathering took place at the Uashassihtsh Ilnu cultural transmission site in Mashteuiatsh. This event allows Pekuakamiulnuatsh and other First Nations in Quebec to reconnect with a thousand-year-old tradition.
Various cultural and sporting activities were held over the weekend, including canoe races, a triathlon, portage competitions and Ilnu and inter-tribal chants and dances (powwows). Both First Nations members and non-Indigenous visitors are able to take part in the festivities, which are intended to pay tribute to these traditional practices.
The family day, musical performances by Katia Rock and Maten, along with a traditional meal and interactions with the artisans all contributed to the event’s success
Rio Tinto has been a partner of the Great Summer Gathering for several years now. The company is proud to support Indigenous communities through this unifying event aimed at preserving their cultures and languages.
“For nearly 100 years, Rio Tinto has been operating in this region, in Nitassinan, the ancestral homeland of the Pekuakamilnuatsh,” said Sabrina Tremblay, Director, Relations with First Nations at Rio Tinto, during a speech she gave at the opening of the event. “We’re proud of our close relationship with the community of Mashteuiatsh and will continue to work alongside them to create a better future. For us, the Great Summer Gathering is a partnership that supports the preservation of Indigenous cultures and allows us to build relationships in the community.”
She added, “It’s a privilege to be able to see your history, art, music, sports competitions and traditional activities every year.”
This year, $15,000 was donated through the Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Trust in support of the event. Rio Tinto was also a presenter for the powwow’s Grand Entry, which was held on 10 July.