June 21 was declared National Indigenous Peoples Day in 1996 by then Governor General Romeo Leblanc. The day was chosen in consultation with some national organizations for Indigenous people, including the Assembly of First Nations, and coincides with the summer solstice, which is significant for some First Nations. The day is a provincial statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
To mark the occasion, NaMeRes holds an annual traditional Pow Wow at Fort York in Toronto. This year it will be on June 22. It is a wonderful opportunity for families to be part of a celebration that includes many of the Indigenous cultures who reside here.
For students and their families who want to learn more, there is a good selection of resources on the Government of Canada website around Indigenous history and the treaties. The First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Association of Ontario website also has a significant amount of materials including authentic voices from many communities.
This day is one of celebration for many Indigenous people. It is a wonderful opportunity for all Canadians to join in celebrating the resilience of the many cultures that have inhabited these lands for generations.