June 21 is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, a day that Indigenous peoples around the world have celebrated for thousands of years. In 1996, the federal government declared June 21 as National Indigenous Peoples Day in response to a call from the Assembly of First Nations to declare a day for recognition of Indigenous peoples.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage and diverse cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, as well as to recognize their outstanding contributions to Canada. This day is a time to celebrate with friends, family and your community. The day is marked with ceremonies, celebrations, parades, cultural performances, arts and crafts activities, displays, and recognition awards for Indigenous people.
Did you know?
Although Indigenous peoples in Canada include three broad groups – First Nations, Inuit, and Metis – it is a very large and diverse population, with many cultures, traditions, and languages.
- According to the 2021 Census, there are 1.8 million Indigenous people in Canada: more than 1 million are First Nations, 624,220 are Métis, and 70,545 are Inuit.
- There are over 600 First Nations communities in Canada, which includes more than 50 nations.
- There are 70 Indigenous languages.
- The Indigenous population is a fast-growing segment of Canada’s population, growing by 9.4% from 2016 to 2021, almost twice the pace of growth of the non-Indigenous population over the same period. Statistics Canada predicts that the Indigenous population could reach between 2.5 million and 3.2 million by 2041.
Indigenous people in Canada have played an important role in shaping the country’s cultural, economic and political landscape. For many generations, Indigenous leaders, Elders, healers, educators, artists and activists, have made invaluable contributions to every aspect of our society.
How to participate
Activities for National Indigenous Peoples Day are organized across Canada every year. CEIU encourages all our members to participate in activities and to learn about the history and culture of Indigenous peoples.
- Find out what local events are happening in your area and attend the celebrations
- You can also consult this list and this map of events across Canada
- Or organize your own activities with your family, friends, community, workplace, or school
- If you cannot attend in person, watch live on APTN
More things you can do to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day:
- Download and share: download images to use on social media, meeting backgrounds, and posters
- Spend the day learning about the Indigenous history of where you live
- Seek out an Indigenous restaurant or food truck
- Listen to music created by Indigenous musicians
- Visit an art gallery that features Indigenous art
- Read a book by an Indigenous author
- Watch a movie by an Indigenous director