Many Indigenous groups and communities celebrate their culture and heritage at the end of June because of the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year. It’s also National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, celebrating the many peoples and tribes that first lived in the region.
“We join Indigenous Peoples today in celebrating their achievements and their resilience,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. “The story of indigeneity in Canada is a story of resilience.”
“When the strongest institutions in the country tried to stamp out Indigenous cultures, languages, and ways of knowing, Indigenous communities persevered. And now, as we work to heal the lasting wounds of the past and move forward together, Indigenous communities are still standing strong: Indigenous youth today are proud of their heritage, and they are reclaiming their cultures and their languages.”
With that in mind, here are some good news stories and historical tidbits to celebrate this awareness day in Canada.
Newfoundland and Labrador groups of people got together for a sunrise ceremony celebrating the day.
“It’s so important,” Marjorie Muise, a Mi’kmaw elder said. “Everybody here came out to support and to celebrate with us, and that in itself is honourable.”
Manitobans got together to celebrate the day with dancing and themed tours.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is part of a larger Celebrate Canada plan that helps bring Canadians together to celebrate their neighbors and history, including Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and Canada Day on July 1.
Regina people have a whole host of options for the day, including poetry slams, community jogs, and much more.
The Canadian Government released an action plan to help restore the relationship between the Canadian government and the nation’s Indigenous people called The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
“Together with Indigenous Peoples, we continue to envision and work toward a better future,” Trudeau said. “This includes a Canada where Indigenous children are educated at the same rate as children in the rest of the country, where artifacts that were stolen from Indigenous communities are returned to their rightful owners, where no child is taken from their family because of discrimination and racism, where guidance that was co-developed with Indigenous partners is applied to every natural resource project in the country, and where everyone has access to clean air and clean water.”