Every June brings another chance to celebrate and honour Canada’s rich history with National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st. First established as a national holiday in 1996, the day encourages Canadians to honor and celebrate the legacy and culture of the country’s Indigenous groups.
Whether you’re looking to celebrate your own Indigenous heritage or simply want to honor a piece of the country’s history, there are plenty of ways to get involved this year. Read on for more information about Indigenous Peoples Day, and find out how you can celebrate throughout the entire month of June!
A History Of Indigenous People’s Day
In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now known as the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a day that would recognize the rich culture of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, as well as the contributions they’ve made to the nation’s prosperity.
Over a decade later, Governor General Roméo LeBlanc officially declared June 21st of each year to be National Aboriginal Day. Thanks to a statement issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017, the holiday is now widely known as National Indigenous Peoples Day and honors the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada.
The Importance Of Celebrating Indigenous Culture
The contributions made by Indigenous peoples to Canada’s history and prosperity are overlooked. And thanks to a long history of colonization and discrimination, Indigenous culture has largely become invisible, despite the fact that Indigenous peoples make up nearly 5% of Canada’s total population.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day provides a space for these groups to be recognized and celebrated for their achievements and rich culture. It also allows non-Indigenous people to gain a better understanding of and a new appreciation for the Indigenous communities that surround them.
Celebrating Indigenous Culture Respectfully
If you’re a non-Indigenous person who would like to participate in the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration, it’s important to maintain a level of respect.
Respectfully observing the holiday largely means keeping the focus on Indigenous culture and history. This can be done in countless ways and can include anything from eating traditional foods to attending a celebration hosted by an Indigenous organization.
Another crucial aspect of celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day respectfully is educating yourself about Indigenous history, which is often improperly taught. Staying educated can minimize misinformation surrounding Indigenous culture, and keep misconceptions from being passed down to future generations.
Ways You Can Celebrate Indigenous People Month This Year
In 2023, there are plenty of things you can do to honor Canada’s Indigenous history all month long. Read on to find out what you can do for Indigenous Peoples Day this year!
Be sure to check out National Indigenous Peoples Day virtual activities happening in your region through Celebrate Canada.
Indigenous Day Celebration: June 21
Education Days: June 22 – 23, 2023
FREE performances and interactive workshops that share and celebrate the diverse Indigenous cultures of Canada. All of this programming is designed to encourage interaction and engagement with our Indigenous artists and knowledge keepers who will help bring the curriculum to life in a fun, authentic and appropriate way.
Pow Wow: June 24 – 25, 2023
This year the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival is excited to feature both our Virtual Pow Wow and live Competition Pow Wow, presented by CN Railway & Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Long Table Dinner: June 24, 2023
Your long table dinner ticket includes onsite parking and you are welcome to start to enjoy the free screening of the acclaimed 2018 movie The Grizzlies, about a youth lacrosse team set up to help combat youth suicide in Canada’s north.