Sunrise Ceremony with Elder Dave Labbe

Friday 10 September at dawn // The Backyard at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

A sacred fire will burn from Friday at dawn until the close of Celebration of Nations in the backyard of the PAC. 

Each morning, a Sunrise Ceremony will take place each day as an opportunity to greet the sun as it rises to begin a new day and to give thanks for another day of life.​

Friday’s ceremony will be led by Elder Dave Labbe.

Dave Labbe


Born November 1, 1949. Yes I am a bit old but not dusty yet.

Grew up in Welland, Ontario in the same house Ontario’s first Native Lieutenant Governor, James Bartleman grew up in while living down south here.

Studied electronics when in college, didn’t do anything with that. Later on took the Adult Aboriginal Bachelor of Education course at Brock. Got some use out of that.

Been employed at the FENFC since 1995 with about 18 months off around 1998-1999. During that brief time of non-employment I was still involved as a member of the FENFC Board of Directors.

Indigenous background: my paternal Grandfather is from Ushat an Innu (Montagnais) Reserve right next to the town of Sept. Isles on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. My Paternal grandmother was mixed Innu and French. My Father was two months old when my Grandparents relocated here. Mother was born in Welland and my maternal Grandmother is Innu from Labrador way up north. The area had a trading post near the coast and that trading post was known as Utshimassit roughly meaning “the place of the Boss”. The boss being the person operating the post. The name was changed in 1949 when all the Innu (Naskapi, meaning ‘people beyond the horizon ‘) were transported to an Island in the Davis Inlet, which became the name of the Band. 

After two generations living on the Island the people were moved back to the mainland to a Reserve called Natuashish. My Maternal Grandfather is from Europe. He was a Romanian sailor who jumped ship and met up with my Grandmother at the Hospital in Lorretteville near Montreal. My parents met at a dance in Welland and created me a little later.

Very fortunate to have met a lot of people who were eager to share their knowledge. My neighbourhood had an extensive array of Indigenous families from Six Nations,  Quebec Cree (Eeyou) Ontario Cree(Mushkeegowuk) Oji-Cree (mainly Chapleau), and Anishinaabe. Later In life I met other folks from Alberta (Sarcee), Saskatchewan (Albert Lightening western Cree), and Malecite (Raymond Gould), and my most excellent Friends Dean Sayers & Alex Kakapshe from Batchewana near Sault Ste. Marie .

I’ve recently retired as the Drug and Alcohol Worker at FENFC for 12.5 Years and Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin (I am a Kind Man) Program Coordinator.

September 10 @ 06:30
6:30 am — 7:00 am

Dave Labbe