On June 21, for National Indigenous Peoples Day, we recognize and celebrate the history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.
For many Indigenous groups and communities, the time around June 21 – which is the summer solstice or longest day of the year – is a time for celebration of culture, heritage and history. Due to the significance of this day to many, in 1996, then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, declared this day National Indigenous Peoples Day as a result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups.
Since then, June 21st has been marked by formal celebrations, recognition and for many, a chance to focus on truth and reconciliation efforts and initiatives.
Many credit unions – and the communities they operate in – may be celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day in their own way, but below are a few ideas for ways to recognize this important day across Alberta.
To recognize this day and show our support for all Indigenous Peoples across Alberta, Credit Unions of Alberta will be donating to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, as we have in previous years, in support of free educational programming and events that move reconciliation forward in Canada.
At Studio Bell and National Music Centre, located in Calgary, all are invited to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day at a special event called “OHSOTO’KINO: Indigenous Peoples Day”. As part of the OHSOTO’KINO initiative and to recognize Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary, this event showcases local Indigenous song, music and dance with a afternoon of performances including champion hoop dancer Quentin Pipestem, powwow singers and drum group Eya-Hey Nakoda, and singer-songwriter Cynthia Hamar.
The National Music Centre’s newly updated Speak Up! exhibition also launches on June 21, giving attendees the chance to learn about Indigenous culture and experiences through the lens of music. The exhibit recognizes trailblazing Indigenous voices in music such as Tom Jackson, Elisapie, Ferron, Fawn Wood, and Drezus and features storytelling, audio, and artifacts. Learn how Indigenous artists are fostering dialogue and understanding to radically shift the Canadian paradigm of who First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people are. Admission to Studio Bell is free for everyone courtesy of Stantec on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day. Learn more here.
At the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton, you can honor the culture and worldviews of Indigenous Peoples in Edmonton. The Centre is offering free admission to Indigenous individuals all day on June 21 and an agenda of events that includes a smudge ceremony, the raising of a Tipi and trapper tent and enjoy performances by Robin Cisek and Indigenous Drummer Dezmond Morningchild. There will also be a Indigenous Vendors Market and free BBQ event. Learn more here.
In the city of Grande Prairie, the Friendship Centre will be hosting a mini-round dance and meal at 6:30 p.m. on June 21 to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. Elsewhere in the city, the Veterans Memorial Gardens will be holding an Orange Ribbon Cruise In, Ride In, Drive In Bannock and Chili Dinner Show & Shone to mark the holiday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on June 21st. Learn more here.
The Lethbridge Public Library has a full slate of events for Indigenous Peoples Day, including a photo scavenger hunt, crafts, and free Indigenous tacos for lunch and more information is available at the library website.
In addition, Fort Whoop-Up will host the grand opening of its new Blackfoot Gallery. Attendees from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. At the event visitors can enjoy crafts, various vendors and food trucks. Learn more here.
Events will take place throughout the day at Kin Park in Medicine Hat. Activities include free rides on the Medicine Hat Sunshine Trolley and guided tours of the Saamis Teepee and Saamis Archeological Site. Additional tours of what was the Metis Community in Saratoga Park are also being offered starting June 21st and running all summer. And starting at 11:00 a.m., again at Kin Park, there will be a powwow presentation, a teepee display, food trucks and face painting. Learn more here.
At the Shining Mountains Living Community Services building, a brand new monument will be unveiled on June 21st, followed by a free community BBQ. This will be the first Indigenous monument in Red Deer. Learn more here.
There are many other community events taking place, you can find a full listing of events happening across Canada here and details on events for National Indigenous Peoples Month (June) here.