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  • Ron Davidson

What is National Indigenous Peoples Day?

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples.

Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

What led to the creation of National Indigenous Peoples Day?

National Aboriginal Day (now National Indigenous Peoples Day) was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day. This was the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups:

in 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day in 1995, the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Peoples also in 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day.

On June 21, 2017, the Prime Minister issued a statement announcing the intention to rename this day National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Due to the seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to celebrate this year’s National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day at home. Keep yourself, your family and your community safe by following instructions from health officials and other trusted, reliable sources.

You can learn more about the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples by reading a digital copy of one the books from the #IndigenousReads reading list or by exploring a virtual exhibit at your favourite museum. You can also go online to https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100013248/1534872397533 to discover numerous educational resources and activities specifically on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100013248/1534872397533

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