Guest post by Avery Delaney (Blackfoot), Indigenous Outreach Coordinator for FIRST UNITED
National Indigenous Peoples Day is an annual celebration that honors the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and contributions of Indigenous communities across Turtle Island (what is commonly known as North America). This day provides a platform to showcase the diverse cultures, languages, foods, arts, music, and dance of Indigenous peoples. Festivals, powwows, cultural events, and workshops are organized to share traditional practices and foster appreciation for Indigenous heritage. These celebrations often involve storytelling, traditional ceremonies, art exhibitions, and performances that highlight the vibrant and distinct Indigenous identities.
The origins of National Indigenous Peoples Day can be traced back to 1982 when the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, called for the creation of a national holiday to celebrate Indigenous cultures and achievements. This day also signifies the summer solstice as the longest day of the year. On June 13, 1996, the Governor General of Canada proclaimed June 21st as National Aboriginal Day, which was later renamed National Indigenous Peoples Day in 2017 to better reflect the inclusive nature of the celebration.
One of the primary goals of National Indigenous Peoples Day is to promote education and raise awareness about Indigenous histories, rights, and the ongoing challenges that Indigenous communities across Turtle Island encounter. Educational institutions, museums, community centers, and online platforms play a crucial role in providing resources, workshops, and presentations to encourage the understanding and respect for Indigenous cultures. This day is also a time to reflect on the history of colonization and its impact on Indigenous peoples. By promoting understanding and respect, this day contributes to the ongoing journey of reconciliation, and building stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
I invite you to explore this list of local Indigenous businesses as one way to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day: