June 21: National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. 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. In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.
National Aboriginal Day (now National Indigenous Peoples Day) was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day. This was the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups:
- in 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day
- in 1995, the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Peoples
- also in 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day
On June 21, 2017, the Prime Minister issued a statement announcing the intention to rename this day National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Learn more here.
Learning tools to enhance relationships between researchers and Indigenous peoples
In the spirit of learning and reconciliation, Can-SOLVE CKD Network has developed a new learning tool developed that aims to help health researchers build respectful partnerships with Indigenous peoples.
The Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj Learning Pathway offers a range of resources to enhance researchers’ knowledge and awareness of racial biases, Indigenous voices and stories, the impact of colonization on Indigenous health, and culturally safe health research practices. The learning pathway brings together existing resources, such as San’yas, OCAP, and the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, with original content developed by the Can-SOLVE CKD Network.
Participants may complete one or more components of the pathway depending on their learning needs and ability. Self-reflection will be a critical part of each component. Participants are encouraged to look, listen, learn, and lead their way along the pathway:
- Looking: Look within to observe and examine racial identities, privileges, and biases
- Listening: Listen to Indigenous voices and stories by participating in interactive learning exercises, facilitated online modules and webinars
- Learning: Enhance knowledge of the history of colonization in Canada and its impacts on Indigenous peoples and their health
- Leading: Reflect on the learning and commit to taking appropriate actions in building genuine partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.
To mark National Indigenous History Month and the National Indigenous Peoples Day, the final component of the learning pathway, a Cultural Competency Knowledge Bundle, is now available to the public. This bundle comprises a list of useful resources that learners can review at their own pace, ranging from academic articles and books to videos and podcasts. The goal is to encourage continuous, lifelong learning about Indigenous cultures and experiences, which in turn can help researchers and health care providers better serve Indigenous people.