National Aboriginal Day
|National Aboriginal Day|
|Next time||21 June 2017|
National Aboriginal Day (French: Journée nationale des Autochtones) is a day recognising and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. The day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated on 21 June annually.
21 June was chosen as the statutory holiday for many reasons-including its cultural significance as the Summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many Aboriginal groups traditionally celebrate their heritage.
The day of recognition came about after a series of calls for such a celebration. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be celebrated on 21 June. Slightly more than a decade later in 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that a National First Peoples Day be designated. Also in that same year, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people chaired by Elijah Harper, titled The Sacred Assembly, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canada. 21 June often coincides with the summer solstice.
National Aboriginal Day is now part of a series of Celebrate Canada days, beginning with National Aboriginal Day and followed by the National Holiday of Quebec on 24 June, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on 27 June, and concluding with Canada Day on 1 July.
In 2001, members of the 14th Legislative Assembly passed the National Aboriginal Day Act making the Northwest Territories the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognise this day as a formal statutory holiday.