Canadians can learn about the distinctive cultures, customs, and experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people during National Indigenous History Month in June. It’s a moment to celebrate the histories, accomplishments, and tenacity of Indigenous Peoples who have inhabited this continent since the beginning of time and whose presence still has a significant influence on contemporary Canada.
2009 saw the House of Commons declare June to be “National Aboriginal History Month.” In 2017, the phrase was renamed “National Indigenous History Month.”
Despite the many parallels between these tribes, each has its own unique history, language, cultural customs, and spiritual beliefs.
The Government of Canada designated June 21, the summer solstice, as National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, in collaboration with Indigenous organizations. Due to the summer solstice’s significance as the longest day of the year, many Indigenous peoples and communities have honored their culture and heritage on or around this day for decades. On this day, all Canadians should commemorate and honor the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples’ distinctive heritage, rich cultural diversity, and exceptional contributions. These three tribes are recognized as Aboriginal or Indigenous peoples by the Canadian Constitution.
Through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day, the then-Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, declared National Aboriginal Day (now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day) in 1996. This was the outcome of negotiations with several Indigenous groups, who also expressed support for such a day in statements:
• The National Indian Brotherhood, which is today known as the Assembly of First Nations, demanded the establishment of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day in 1982.
• A national holiday honoring the accomplishments of Indigenous Peoples was proposed by the Sacred Assembly, a nationwide gathering of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people led by Elijah Harper, in 1995.
• A National First Peoples Day was suggested by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1995.
The Prime Minister announced his intention to rename this day National Indigenous Peoples Day in a statement on June 21, 2017.
More information about the National Indigenous Month celebration at About National Indigenous History Month.
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