For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near the summer solstice, marking its significance as the longest day of the year. Since 1996, Canada has celebrated June 21 as National Indigenous Peoples Day, to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, distinct languages, spiritual beliefs and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
While there is so much to celebrate, we must also acknowledge the collective grief and anger of Turtle Island after the recent discovery of the remains of hundreds of children in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops) residential school, as well as other former residential school sites across Canada. While that grief and anger cannot be ignored, we can collectively work to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other efforts to recognize the rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people in Saskatchewan.
These rights have been internationally codified in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).
We acknowledge that before reconciliation, there must be truth. Truth is critical.
We know we must do better, every day of the year.
We must commit to continuing to learn, and unlearn, as much as we can about the culture, heritage and true history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Listen to their voices. Build connections with Indigenous Elders, colleagues, leaders and communities. Engage in meaningful dialogue. And do your homework, if you have not already:
A few of today's events:
The Office of the Treaty Commission has posted a list of virtual and in-person events being held across Saskatchewan.
The City of Regina is hosting its ninth annual celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day through a livestreamed event on its Regina National Indigenous Peoples Day Facebook page. Running from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the event includes a lineup of drumming, song, spoken word, a powwow performance, greetings dancing and more.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is celebrating Indigenous culture and art through a livestream from its ethnology collection. At 1:30PM join Indigenous programming specialist Theresa Walter, conservator Victoria Kablys and Métis artist Holly Aubichon as they walk through the items in the museum’s Indigenous Studies Collection, including beadwork, quillwork and leatherwork.
SaskMusic and FACTOR Canada are presenting a special online concert in honour of National Indigenous History Month, airing 7 p.m. on Thursday June 25 on SaskMusic’s Facebook and YouTube pages. More than a local dozen artists from different musical styles have been paired with video mentors to create unique music videos over the past weeks. Following June 25, the concert will also be available to watch on SaskTel maxTV Local on Demand.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is premiering Kevin Settee’s four-part series of short films, The Lake Winnipeg Project, at Indigenous Cinema, the NFB’s online collection of Indigenous-made films.