Roseau River band councillor to welcome Syrian refugees in Winnipeg

A Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation band councillor is on his way to the airport to welcome Syrian refugees who are scheduled to arrive in Winnipeg on Saturday.

Cecil James and a women's drumming group are trying to create a positive first impression of indigenous people

Syrian refugees Elo Manushian arrives in Canada on Dec. 11. On Saturday, Roseau River band councillor Cecil James is greeting refugees at the airport with a women's drum group, who will play a welcome song and create a positive first impression of Canada's Indigenous Peoples. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

A Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation band councillor is on his way to the airport to welcome Syrian refugees who are scheduled to arrive in Winnipeg on Saturday.

By greeting the refugees with a women's drum group, Cecil James is trying to give them a good first impression of Canada's Indigenous Peoples.

"A lot of times people are led astray about what aboriginal people are," he said.

"It's very important that we are at the forefront, educating people about our culture, our traditions [and] our history."

James told CBC he is hoping for new friendships to form between the drummers, who will play a welcoming song, and newcomers, once they arrive on Treaty 1 Territory.

"I thought it would be a great way to greet them and welcome them to our country," he said.

Saturday will mark the first time James and the group go to the airport to meet refugees, and he plans to continue the initiative as refugees arrive in Winnipeg in the coming weeks.

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