While there is much to celebrate each and every day amongst the diverse and beautiful cultures of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, this year’s summer solstice holds the official day of celebration, with National Indigenous Peoples Day taking place on June 21.
The celebration recognizes the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, their cultural and spiritual practices and the more than 30 Indigenous languages and 60 dialects in B.C.
With the help of the Assembly of First Nations, the Sacred Assembly conference and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the celebration was finally declared in 1996 through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day. It states:
“Whereas the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have made and continue to make valuable contributions to Canadian society and it is considered appropriate that there be, in each year, a day to mark and celebrate these contributions and to recognize the different cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;
And Whereas many Aboriginal peoples celebrate the summer solstice, which has an important symbolism within their cultures.”
Originally called National Aboriginal Day, it was renamed to National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2017.
For thousands of years, the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — has held significance amongst Indigenous people, with traditions and ceremonies taking place.
The day is also an opportunity for non-Indigenous people to reflect on how they can contribute to true reconciliation.
Check out your local community to see what celebrations will occur on National Indigenous Peoples Day.
There is also an app you can download called Indigenous BC.
The app is filled with cultural events, education and Indigenous-owned businesses, encouraging people to travel and discover the history, talent and languages across the different Indigenous cultures.
In the app, you can select filters, narrowing your search down to four categories of things to do, arts and culture, culinary and wellness, outdoor adventure and wildlife and nature, as well as where to stay, sweat lodges, campgrounds, hotels, motels and resorts.
You can also use the app to listen to songs and stories documenting the oral history of differing territories.
Visit indigenousbc.com to learn more.