On June 21, 1996, National Indigenous Peoples Day was formally recognized in Canada — paving the way for all Canadians, whether indigenous or non-indigenous, to fully explore and celebrate the distinct cultures and unique traditions of the Inuit, First Nations, and Metis people.
In a recent article about National Indigenous Peoples Day, award-winning author Eden Robinson was quoted as saying:
“The last couple of years have been difficult. Not just with COVID, but I’m thinking particularly about the 215 children found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. When people talk about us or when they talk to us, these are the stories that they bring up. They bring up our deepest grief and trauma. So, what I like about Indigenous Day is that people are celebrating our cultures, they’re celebrating our communities. We ourselves are celebrating the things that bring us joy, and usually that’s our heritage. I know that last year was exceptionally hard, and no one really felt like celebrating, but we have an infinite capacity for joy.”
While there is much work to be done on the road to reconciliation, today is a day to recognize the many achievements of Canada’s Indigenous people. It is a celebratory event, a day to share and honour the indigenous culture.