By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
National Indigenous Peoples Day, formerly National Aboriginal Day, falls on June 21 every year since 1996, when the Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, announced it through proclamation. According to the Government of Canada’s website, “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.”
It has become an opportunity for people across the country to celebrate the distinct heritage, cultural practices, spiritual beliefs and languages of Aboriginal peoples that form a part of our collective history in Canada.
National Indigenous Peoples Day was the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups.
The date of June 21, the summer solstice and longest day of the year, was selected in cooperation with Indigenous organizations because of its significance for many Aboriginal communities.
In 2009, June was declared National Aboriginal History Month after the House of Commons passed a unanimous motion to recognize the historic contributions and the strength of Indigenous communities across the country today.
See the National Indigenous Peoples Day Events Page for a complete list of activities across the country. Saskatchewan events on June 21 include:
Saskatoon: How to discover your indigenous ancestry