Community Life Communique #9

National Chairperson of Community Life Betty Colaneri, June 19, 2018

PDF, Poster

National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21, 2018

The federal government designated June 21st as National Indigenous Peoples Day, a celebration of Indigenous peoples’ culture and heritage in cooperation with Indigenous peoples’ national organizations. This date was chosen as it corresponds to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, on which many generations of Indigenous people have celebrated their culture and heritage.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. These groups share many similarities yet have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. Indigenous peoples have unique accomplishments in various fields of agriculture, the environment and the arts, making a significant contribution to Canadian society.

The federal government website explains what led to the creation of National Aboriginal Day and how it became a part of the Celebrate Canada program. On June 21, 2017, the prime minister stated that the day would be renamed National Indigenous Peoples Day. The website provides ideas and funding opportunities for events, a list of where events are being held, and promotional and educational resources for adults and children. Enclosed is a poster that may be downloaded. Visit https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100013248/1100100013249

It is certainly a time for celebration as Bill C-262 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act has passed third reading in the House of Commons and was recently introduced in the Senate.

I recently attended a viewing of the movie Indian Horse based on the novel by Canadian author Richard Wagamese. The story depicts how eight-year-old Saul Indian Horse is torn from his Ojibway family and taken to a residential school. It is a dramatic story of his journey of loss, fear, hope and resilience. Even though it was extremely emotional for me to watch, I highly recommend viewing it.

Let’s celebrate with the nation’s Indigenous brothers and sisters on June 21st, the longest day of the year, through outstretched arms of welcome creating the longest chain across Canada!

Betty Colaneri
National Chairperson of Community Life