Garden Party Reception with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
It was truly an honor to be asked by the National Aboriginal Role Model Program to represent the organization at the Royal Inaugural Visit to Rideau Hall on June 30th, 2011. The Governor General hosted approximately 100 youth to attend a garden party reception at his residence. Being both an Anishinabeg Algonquin and Canadian Citizen, attending this event was very important to me. When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived to Canada on their first official visit, Ottawa was their first stop. This being the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation, I felt that I needed to present the Royals with a special honor that would act as a remembrance of the relationship that the First Nations of Canada have with the crown.
Before attending this ceremony at Rideau Hall, I decided that I was going to present the Royal Couple with an eagle feather that I was given. To be given an eagle feather is a special honor; however I felt passing it onto the Royal Couple as a reminder of the commitment between two cultures was an important gesture.
When I was in presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Rideau Hall reception, it was amazing to see how down to earth and humble they both were. I had the opportunity of first meeting the Duchess, I shook her hand and explained to her who I was, but most importantly I reminded her that she was on unceded Algonquin Territory. I gave her the eagle feather as an honor and asked her to remember the commitment between the Crown and the First Nation People’s of Canada. The Duchess of Cambridge- Catherine Middleton, warmly accepted my honor to her and stated that both she and her husband would keep the eagle feather with them during their Canadian visit and that she understood the gift was a honor and respect the relationship between the crown. Being a former Miss Algonquin Nation and having a discussion with Catherine Middleton, who married Prince William was such a special privilege. During this discussion, I did manage to get a photo with the Duchess and myself where we are both holding the eagle feather.
Towards the end of the reception, I managed to meet and shake Prince William’s hand, however it was very brief due to all of the media that were surrounding him. I explained to him the same message I passed onto the Duchess of Cambridge ensuring he remember the commitment between the Crown and the First People’s in Canada throughout all of his duties. This was a very special moment with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a story that I will be sharing with future generations to come.
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