PEI

Gold Cup Parade Marshal talks Canada 150, reconciliation

Chief Brian Francis of the Abegweit First Nation will be leading Friday's Gold Cup Parade in Charlottetown.

Brian Francis says he is proud to be leading the parade

"I see it as a celebration of Confederation, and when I think of Canada 150 I also think of Mi'kmaq 14,000," says Chief Brian Francis. (CBC)

Chief Brian Francis of the Abegweit First Nation will be leading Friday's Gold Cup Parade in Charlottetown.

He is excited, he said on CBC P.E.I.'s Compass Thursday, and has been practicing his smile and wave.

"I'm quite honoured actually to be part of the parade," Francis said. "I think it's a very positive step … in terms of creating awareness of our Mi'kmaq people on P.E.I."

The theme for the parade this year is is "Canada, Eh!" — a tribute to Canada 150.

He said he is proud to represent Mi'kmaq people, and is excited the parade selected and Indigenous leader to be marshal.

Proud of progress

"When I think back, this probably wouldn't have happened decades ago, maybe even a few years ago," he said. "But the fact that it's happening now is a sign that not only our province, but our country, is starting to move forward in terms of creating that awareness and reconciliation of Indigenous people."

When I think of Canada 150 I also think of Mi'kmaq 14,000— Brian Francis

He said while Canada 150 celebrates confederation, he will keep in mind the much longer history of Indigenous people in Canada.

"I see it as a celebration of Confederation, and when I think of Canada 150 I also think of Mi'kmaq 14,000," he said. "That's how far we can trace our roots back."

The parade begins at 10 a.m. on North River Road.

With files from CBC P.E.I.'s Compass

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