Indigenous Peoples Day falls on June 21st this year and was established by the Canadian government in 1996, but indigenous people and communities had already been celebrating their culture and heritage on or around this day for many generations. This time of year is a time to celebrate due to the significance of the summer solstice -- the longest day of the year.
National Indigenous Peoples Day 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.
Although Indigenous groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. This day allows the nation to recognize the importance of all Indigenous communities and celebrate Indigenous people as a whole. Typically, Indigenous Peoples Day (and the summer solstice in general) would be a time for getting together, celebrating, and truly connecting with one another.
Depending on where you live, that might look a little different this year. But, there are still some amazing ways YOU can celebrate while still staying safe and healthy. All of these activities can be enjoyed alone or with others -- so there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate!
The goal is simply to celebrate in a way that feels right to you and that offers gratitude, respect, and appreciation for all Indigenous communities.
Let’s talk about just a FEW of the ways you can get started.
PARTICIPATING IN A FESTIVAL OR POW WOW
Summer Solstice is the time when Indigenous communities are joyfully celebrating with powwows and festivals in order to usher in warm weather and say goodbye to winter.
This year, you can participate from wherever you are. Just as it did last year, the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival is hosting workshops, classes, live music, and other festivities all streamed online for you to watch from home. These activities are available nearly all month long. Additionally, some Indigenous communities offer virtual powwows for people to experience from home, so you might try searching your local community for what options are available!
This can be a great way to really feel like you are part of the festivities and get an up close experience with Indigenous celebrations.
LISTEN TO AN INDIGENOUS PODCAST
Podcasts can be informational, entertaining, or both. And, since they’re audio only, you can listen to them anywhere -- at work, during your commute, or even as you go about your business at home throughout the day.
When choosing a podcast this June, you might try seeking out a podcast that either specifically highlights Indigenous teachings, culture, and philosophies OR you might listen to a podcast about any topic but that is created by an Indigenous person. Either way, you will be supporting Indigenous creators and small businesses. And, you might learn more about Indigenous culture along the way.
Try to use this day as a way to seek out new Indigenous driven or created content that you might not otherwise engage with normally. You might find your new favorite podcast!
ENGAGING WITH INDIGENOUS CREATIVE CONTENT, SUCH AS MUSIC, FILMS, OR COMEDY
Just like you might try to seek out an Indigenous-led podcast this upcoming Indigenous Peoples Day, try also seeking out some Indigenous artists. You can find catalogs of Indigenous musicians online, watch a documentary about Indigenous history, or even watch a new comedy special by an Indigenous comedian!
If you are able to see a movie or a concert in person, that’s a great way to engage -- but all of this can be done right from home, as well. Whatever you decide, this can be a great way to show your appreciation for Indigenous culture and the lasting impression that Indigenous peoples have made on popular culture.
VISITING A MUSEUM COLLECTION
If museums are open near you, you might try visiting a museum or exhibit displaying Indigenous artifacts, art, or history. This can be done alone, with friends, or with your family.
Also, many museums are now offering virtual tours or videos of their collections online so that you can experience the exhibit at home! This is a great way to learn and support Indigenous artists while also doing a fun activity.
TAKING A COURSE OR TRAINING
The most important thing you can do to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day is to educate yourself. Understand the history of Indigenous people, their culture, their land, their teachings, and their wonderful contributions over the generations. This is truly the most powerful thing you can do - especially as an ally - to demonstrate your appreciation and respect for Indigenous peoples on this important day.
If you’re not sure exactly how to learn more or generate more awareness for yourself, you might try taking a course or enrolling in a workshop. You can even do that with us! We offer some amazing workshops centered around Indigenous teachings and incorporating them more fully into everyday life. If you’re Indigenous, this can help you feel more connected to your culture. If you're not, these kinds of workshops can help you learn about and appreciate Indigenous culture and teachings. Check out the links to our workshops in the comments below.
These are just a FEW of the ways you can participate in and celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day this year. There are TONS of other ways to celebrate, so just do a little research and find what feels right to you.
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