Grab a bite, hear a song on National Indigenous Peoples Day
Daniel J. Rowe
This article was updated on July 12, 2019.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21, and if you’re within earshot of Cabot Square, on Atwater Avenue and Sainte-Catherine Street West, you will hear the music. Jonas and the Massive Attraction guitar player Corey Diabo will rock the square as the Cabot Square Project continues its revival of the area with events celebrating the city’s thriving urban Indigenous people.
The day will feature performances from Buffalo Hat Singers, Nina Segalowitz, Moe Clark, and world champion hoop dancer Moontee Sinquah and Family in addition to Diabo. Shows start at 3 p.m., and HITLAB will film the entire show for a future documentary.
The day will double as the release of the Aboriginal Fridays schedule at the square, which begin June 29 and run through the summer. Aboriginal Fridays will include dream catcher workshops, soapstone carving demonstrations, concerts and other events every Friday until August 16 with an end of summer concert.
Authentic Indigenous cuisine
Authentic Indigenous food does not find its way onto many menus in Montréal, but that unfortunate trend is beginning to change. The Roundhouse Café at Cabot Square prides itself on being the only Indigenous Café in the city. It opened in 2015, and is a place where foodies can pick up Indian tacos, salmon burgers, bannock and coffee from Kanesatake roaster Moccasin Jo.
Those up for a drive can try even more cuisine courtesy of the Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawà:ke. Across the Mercier Bridge in Kahnawà:ke, Indian tacos feature on several local restaurants’ menus, such as the Messy Kitchen, The Rail Coal Fire Bistro and others.
The recently opened Purple Dragonfly Trading Post goes a step further, offering a quality selection of Indigenous food generally reserved for pow wows. The tea shop and arts and crafts boutique also features walleye nuggets, bannock, wild game shepherd’s pie and various wraps and tacos made with a Kanien’kehá:ka flare on the menu. The business encourages customers to call ahead with their orders.
Mi’kmaw chef Norma Condo’s recently opened Miqmak Catering Indigenous Kitchen, serving wild rice, a three sisters casserole (corn, beans and squash) and Condo’s signature bannock, is the only entirely Indigenous-owned restaurant on the island of Montréal. The Pearson School of Culinary Arts grad and widowed mother of five had been running a catering company since November 2018 before opening her dining room at the end of June. The West Island restaurant hopes to serve more wild game in the coming months in addition to expanding its menu.
Daniel J. Rowe, journalist
Daniel J. Rowe is a West Coast transplant that wound up in Montréal via Japan and became an award-winning journalist and photographer working out of the Kanien’kehá:ka community of Kahnawà:ke. He’s an admitted culture addict, sports fanatic in the worst way and food and drink snob, though he’ll eat a hot dog and enjoy it on those nights that hot dogs are all that’s needed. The best view in life for him is on a bicycle at high speeds, and he will point it out if you use the adjective everyday incorrectly.