Sunday, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada.
The day celebrates the achievements, history, and diverse cultures of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
It should also be a time of continued reflection on the complex relationship Canada has with the first people to live on these lands.
Indigenous nations have strong similarities between them, but their diverse cultures are defined by a multitude of languages, traditions, and rituals. One of the best ways to understand this is to listen and learn.
Large gatherings are still not allowed across the country due to COVID-19. But thanks to the Internet, Indigenous festivities are still happening and we can attend them.
How? We're glad you asked!
It's time for a Powwow
The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (June 1-21) is currently happening online here. Starting today (Friday, June 19) and lasting all weekend is the festival's big finale: The Social Distance Powwow.
This event is three days full of traditional singing, drumming, and dancing. It's competitive and includes different age categories and styles. But above all, it is a huge celebration with food, parties, arts, and reflection time.
The films cover dozens of topics and styles. There are documentaries, dramas, and pieces of art, covering Indigenous nations from the Arctic to the Pacific coast, across the Prairies, and straight across to the Atlantic! Films range from 4-minute short films all the way to full-length features. There's something for everyone! You can find the films for young people here.
And if you want some activities that you can do yourself, the Canadian government has also put out a learning and activity guide. It includes everything from stories to puzzles to games, all themed around celebrating and understanding Indigenous cultures. There's even some stuff about cooking. Yum!
And speaking of food, let's talk about strawberries! Strawberry season is not far away, and the fruit holds a lot significance in many Indigenous cultures, such as Haudenosaunee culture. Strawberries are considered to be a gift from the Creator and once the fruits are ripe, they are used in next to everything. Breads, drinks, dried as snacks ... even the leaves and roots of the plants are used to make medicinal teas. All of which is to say, if you're looking for a snack for the day, why not some fresh strawberries?
Have fun celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day, everyone!