June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada – a day to celebrate the diverse cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated on the summer solstice. As the longest day of the year, the summer solstice holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for many Indigenous peoples – it symbolizes a new season of life, a chance to start fresh and leave past burdens behind.
Summer solstice celebrations typically incorporate traditional ceremony, music, dancing, drumming, feasts and story sharing.
There are a number of ways you can celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day and deepen your understanding of Indigenous cultures:
1. Learn more about creation stories
Indigenous peoples remember their origins through oral creation stories that are passed down through generations by elders. Creation stories explain how the world and all of its parts began, and describe the significance of the rituals, ceremonies and spiritual beliefs that celebrate the renewal of creation.
- Indigenous people refer to North America as ‘Turtle Island.’ There are many versions of the story that describe how “Turtle Island” was created. Listen to creation stories told by six Indigenous storytellers from communities across Canada.
- Read the Great Festival of Light creation story to learn about the significance of the summer solstice.
2. Attend an event in your city
Winnipeg | National Indigenous Peoples Day – Winnipeg Art Gallery | June 21 | 7 p.m.-11 p.m.
- As part of the Inuit Studies Conference, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hosting a FREE concert featuring DJs, bands and solo artists throughout WAG Qaumajuq.
Regina | Regina National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration | June 21 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- National Indigenous Peoples Day is your chance to learn, discover and feel the history, joy and culture of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Events will be happening in both City Square Plaza and Victoria Park located in Downtown Regina.
Saskatoon | Rock Your Roots for National Indigenous Peoples’ Day | June 21 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Victoria Park – 606 Spadina Crescent West, Saskatoon
- On National Indigenous Peoples Day, join the Rock your Roots and Walk for Reconciliation. This is a 1 hr walk along the river, with cultural performances showcasing Saskatoon’s diversity and entertaining participants along the way. “Rock Your Roots” by wearing cultural regalia or wearing orange to honour Residential School Survivors. The walk circles back and ends in Victoria Park. Following the walk, the Saskatoon Indian Métis Friendship Centre hosts National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations until 4 pm.
Calgary | Round Dance Honouring Indigenous Day | June 21 | 1-5 p.m. | 636 Marlborough way NE
- A round dance is a special traditional event in First Nations culture that brings people together to heal, honour and celebrate life. The event features a barbecue, family fun activities, and ends with a round dance.
Edmonton | Alberta Métis Fest 2022 | June 24-26 | Métis Crossing
- This year’s Alberta Métis Fest will allow for both Métis and non-Métis alike to gather, share stories, and experience Métis Crossing. The event will offer community members the opportunity to hear musical performances from Métis artists from across the province and participate in activities like canoe rides, wagon rides, cultural workshops, voyageurs games, wildlife tours into the buffalo paddocks, and so much more! There will also be food trucks, family activities, an artisan market, a jigging competition, and door prize giveaways.
Vancouver | Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre | June 21-July 3
- Celebrate the spirit of Skw̲xw̲ú7mesh and Líl̓wat7úl at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to honour National Indigenous Peoples Day from June 21 – July 3, 2022
3. Watch Indigenous-created content
On June 21, CBC will stream a selection of Indigenous-led documentaries, films and series
- True North Calling —11 a.m.
- We Will Stand Up —1 p.m.
- Inendi — 2 p.m.
- Birth of a Family — 3 p.m.
- Stories from the Land – Corn Soup and The Last Fishermen — 4 p.m.
- The Road to Here: The Errol Ranville Story — 5 p.m.
- Mashkawi-Manidoo Bimaadiziwin – Spirit to Soar — 7 p.m.
- SGaawaay K’unna (Edge of The Knife) —8 p.m.
- Skindigenous — 12:30 a.m.
- Mohawk Girls — 1 a.m.
- Taken — 2 a.m.
4. Listen to a podcast
- Telling Our Twisted Histories. Words connect us. Words hurt us. Indigenous histories have been twisted by centuries of colonization. Host Kaniehti:io Horn brings us together to decolonize our minds– one word, one concept, one story at a time.
- Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Host Rosanna Deerchild takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country.
- 2 Crees in a Pod explores a deep conversation about Indigenous knowledge and how this way of life and learning is critical for Indigenous people today.
- A Tribe Called Geek is a nerd-culture podcast that prides itself on its “Indigenerdity.” The ATCG website covers everything from comics, STEM, cosplaying, art, entertainment and more.
5. Read a book written by an Indigenous author
- From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way by Jesse Thistle
- A Two-Spirit Journey: the Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby
- mitoni niya nêhiyaw / Cree is who I truly am by Sarah Whitecalf
- Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation & Residential Schools Edited by Shelagh Rogers, Mike DeGagné, Glean Lowry and Jonathan Dewar
- The Right To Be Cold: One Woman’s Story Of Protecting Her Culture, The Arctic And The Whole Planet by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
We encourage you to take some time on June 21 to celebrate the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across Canada.