National Indigenous History Month
June marks National Indigenous History Month, a time for all Canadians to commemorate the rich heritage, diversity, and histories of Indigenous, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across the country.
Celebratory events are happening nationwide and across the province. All month long you can take a free Decolonization Tour at UBC, attend art exhibitions, watch paddle carving, learn from online resources and check out the National Film Board’s free films. The BC Treaty Commission strongly encourages everyone to participate and learn about Indigenous histories, cultures and treaty making.
This month provides another opportunity to do the necessary work of reconciliation. Whether it’s by reading books, attending conferences, or researching ways to support Indigenous artists, storytellers and business owners, there is no shortage of ways to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous communities.
Achieving true reconciliation is not easy work, nor can it be done in a vacuum – only together, through learning and listening can we work towards an equitable future.
Did You Know?
- National Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly National Aboriginal Day) takes place annually on June 21st. This year marks its 26th anniversary.
- The day was chosen specifically for its symbolic purposes. It coincides with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and marks the beginning of the fishing and berry picking season.
- The day was first suggested in 1982, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, as a day of solidarity. Tensions that grew as a result of the Oka Crisis and the Ipperwash Crisis led for repeated calls for a National Day of Recognition.
- In June 1996, Governor General LeBlanc made a proclamation declaring June 21st to annually be marked as National Aboriginal Day.
- Six years earlier in 1990, Quebec became the first province to establish June 21st as a day to celebrate Indigenous culture.
- Thirteen years ago, in 2009, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion to make June, National Aboriginal History Month, in 2017 it was changed to National Indigenous History Month.
Other Ways to Learn and Take Action
- Commit to learning about historic and modern treaties, through the Land Claims Agreements Coalition and Understanding Our Treaties.
- Reach out to your local Friendship Centre, to find ways to support the great work that they do.
- Visit our social media accounts throughout the month of June to learn about the significance of Modern Treaties, and key policy and legislation in the recognition of Indigenous rights.
- Take a look at Indigenous Tourism BC’s list of National Indigenous Peoples Day Events.
- Participate virtually in events such as the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Funds’ Indigenous History Month Virtual Events.
- Support Indigenous services and programs across the province.
- Register for the National Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022, through the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation — more details coming soon!