National Indigenous Peoples Day

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National indigenous People Day
National Aboriginal Day 2015 (19003244776).jpg
National Aboriginal Day celebrations at University of the Fraser Valley, 2015
Observed byCanada
Date21 June
Next time21 June 2020 (2020-06-21)

National Indigenous Peoples Day (French: Journée nationale des peuples autochtones) is a day recognising and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada.[1] The day was first celebrated as National Aboriginal Day in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated annually on June 21. This date 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 Indigenous peoples and communities traditionally celebrate their heritage. It was renamed from National Aboriginal Day in 2017.


The day came about after a series of calls for such a celebration.[citation needed]

It was first self-declared Indian Day in 1945, by Jules Sioui[2] and chiefs from across Turtle Island (North America).[3]

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 Indigenous Peoples Day is now the first of a series of Celebrate Canada days, 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.[4]

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."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "National Aboriginal Day History" (PDF). Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Archived from the original (pdf) on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  2. ^ Trebilcock, Romola. "Remembering William Commanda on National Aboriginal Day".
  3. ^ Chansonneuve, Deborah. "Happy National Aboriginal Day and Month!" (PDF). FemNorthNet. CRIAW-ICREF.
  4. ^ "National Aboriginal Day". Canada: Government of the Northwest Territories. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  5. ^ Harris, Kathleen (21 June 2017). "Trudeau marks National Aboriginal Day with pledge to build relations, rename day". CBC News. Retrieved 21 June 2017.

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