Friday marked National Aboriginal Day in Canada, and celebrations were held across Manitoba.

The day, established in 1996, was scheduled to fall on the summer solstice because of its cultural significance to aboriginal people.

The events aim to share aboriginal culture with others and events scheduled include traditional ceremonies, drumming and singing, jigging and powwow dancing, free feasts and cultural talks by elders.

Frank Beaulieu helped organize a powwow in Winnipeg on Friday. He said the day is important to inspire young people.

Beaulieu said the day aims to be "inspiring and goal-setting for the young people out there." He added he hopes it helps them "remain in their culture in the city as well."

Others said the day is also about educating society and counteracting negative stereotypes.

Kristi Havens works with the North End Community Helpers Network. She helped organize a block party in the neighbourhood to mark the day.

"There is so much good going on in the North End that is positive that doesn’t get the coverage that you see Monday to Friday and on the weekend," Havens said.

For 11-year-old Lainey Chartrand, the day is simply about self-expression and having fun.

"You can just dance and do whatever you want. You can be yourself, and I like that," said Chartrand.

Events in Winnipeg

Memorial Park - 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.   5 a.m. - Sunrise cermony

9 a.m. - O Canada to be sung by Mulvey School students

2 p.m. - Dakota Riders horse parade from The Forks to Memorial Park

The Forks - noon to 9 p.m.

Founding Nations Tribal Village located under the canopy

Selkirk Avenue and Powers Street - Noon to 4 p.m.

Entertainment by JC Campbell & Tracy Bone, Norman Chief Memorial Dancers, Foreign Objekts, Crowdust and Lorenzo.

12:30 p.m. - Free traditional feast and storytelling from local aboriginal elders

Indian and Metis Friendship Centre (45 Robinson Street) - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jigging contest, career fair, seniors program, pony rides and bouncers

Events in Selkirk

Selkirk Park - 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. - Breakfast

12 p.m. - Opening ceremonies

1 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Entertainment

Events in Thompson

Centennial Park - 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

5:30 a.m. - Sunrise pipe ceremony

9 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Children's activities (Grades 2 to 6)

12 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Community BBQ

12 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Aboriginal artist market and food booth

1 p.m. - Opening ceremonies with grand entry and an opening prayer

2:30 p.m. - Traditional dancers

4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  Cultural event competitions with prizes

6:30 p.m. - Aboriginal talent showcase: Dick Brothers and Fred Moose

9 p.m. - Closing ceremonies

11 p.m. - Fireworks (Tentative)