Today is National Aboriginal Day!

June 21st, 2017 by CIVIX

The CIVIX team wants to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples who have inhabited Turtle Island, North America, for millennia to our country on this National Aboriginal Day.

Our national office is located on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on the territory that is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island. 

The National Aboriginal Day was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc. This celebration takes place every year on June 21st, and the date was chosen because of the summer solstice. The summer solstice has great spiritual and cultural importance to many Indigenous peoples, who celebrate their heritage on this date. The Trudeau government has promised to rename this celebration to National Indigenous Day, to ensure consistency with international terminology. Special events across Canada are organized this year to commemorate this special day as well as Canada 150.

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There are positive and joyful things to celebrate on National Aboriginal Day. Earlier this month, thirty Indigenous leaders and non-Indigenous allies were honoured at Rideau Hall and appointed to the Order of Canada for their outstanding contribution to Indigenous peoples in Canada. There is also a growing revitalization of many Indigenous languages and traditional practices throughout the country, led by Indigenous youth, elders and leaders who contribute to the vibrancy of Indigenous cultures.

It is also a day to acknowledge the harm caused to Indigenous peoples over the years by the Residential School system and other colonial policies, and the long-lasting impacts on communities and individuals across Canada. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission was put in place a few years ago to investigate into the mistreatment of Indigenous children and offer solutions to the intergenerational trauma caused by this system. Recently, the government of Canada has launched a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to document, listen to testimonies, and offer solutions to the thousands of deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women.

Many resources are available to explore these issues and the significance of National Aboriginal Day:

National Aboriginal Day: Description, Activities, and Learning resources (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website)

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Aboriginal Day” (Prime Minister’s Office, June 21st)

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada,” (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, 2015)

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” (MMIWG website)

Posted in Special Events |

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