National Indigenous Peoples Day

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National Indigenous Peoples Day
Observed by Canada
Date 21 June
Next time 21 June 2018 (2018-06-21)
Frequency annual

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 Indigenous peoples in Canada.[1] 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.

On 21 June 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement pledging to rename the event National Indigenous Peoples Day. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde supported the proposed change, called it an "important step," citing the terminology used in the landmark United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."[2]


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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "National Aboriginal Day History" (pdf). Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Harris, Kathleen (21 June 2017). "Trudeau marks National Aboriginal Day with pledge to build relations, rename day". CBC News. Retrieved 21 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "National Aboriginal Day". Canada: Government of the Northwest Territories. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 

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