Vincent Schilling

Indian Country Today

Monday marks the 25th anniversary of the annual National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in Canada, which honors and recognizes the contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. (June is also National Indigenous History Month in Canada.)

Be cautious not to confuse this annual celebration in Canada for Indigenous Peoples Day in the United States, which has been slowly but surely replacing the federal Columbus Day holiday that takes place in October.

Though many events take place in Canada on June 21 and some of the television programming is not available to residents in the United States, there are many events and activities you can do online to research, learn and support the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

Here is a list of things you can do for Canada’s Indigenous Peoples Day:

  • Check out the artists on APTN’s Indigenous Day Live website and follow the hashtag #IDL2021.

Okay, truth told us Native folks in the U.S. can’t access APTN’s programming but we can take advantage of APTN’s extensive list of artists and resources to learn from. One visit to APTN’s Indigenous Day Live website will reveal an awesome list of Indigenous artists to research, learn about and get exposure to.

Who won’t benefit from learning about the incredible talents of the blazingly hot hip-hop artists the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, the worldly and iconic Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cris Derksen, Emma Stevens, Julian Taylor and so many more. The beauty of the artists on the APTN’s Indigenous day Live website is that each artist page has website and social media information for Indigenous music lovers to enrich their music libraries and social media followings.

APTN’s Indigenous day Live website screen capture

If you follow the hashtag #IDL2021, you can also follow APTN's Indigenous Day Live updates and watch posts on artists and events you might want to investigate.

  • Watch the Snotty Nose Rez Kids Indigenous Peoples Day video release of “Something Else.”

The Snotty Nose Rez Kids are releasing their latest video to the public. A video definitely worth checking out on their YouTube channel at 10 a.m. PDT, 1 p.m. EDT. You can set a reminder for the premiere here:

(See related: Millions taking notice: Snotty Nose Rez Kids)

  • Participate in the virtual events listed in the Toronto Star.

The Toronto Star has a list of several Indigenous peoples Day events that people can attend virtually to include the “Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society’s Indigenous People’s Day Zoom Celebration” on Facebook Live, a one-man show by Anishinaabe playwright and theatre artist Josh Languedoc on June 21-23 also on Facebook Live, the Edmonton Two-Spirit Society Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration livestreaming on both Facebook and Instagram, and virtual celebrations of Aboriginal Awareness Week in Calgary June 21-26.

Details are in the article or those interested should be able to find the events with a simple Google search.

The CBC news site has compiled a lengthy and impressive group of 35 books and Indigenous authors for interested readers wishing to support Indigenous Peoples Day and month.

For those interested in diving further there are also the articles “9 children's books by Indigenous writers to read,” and “Comics, graphic novels, art and their power to tell stories.”

  • Listen to the “Telling Our Twisted Stories” podcast
Twisted Histories on CBC - website screen capture

According to the creators in an email to Indian Country Today, “Telling Our Twisted Histories,” is a new CBC Podcast that reclaims Indigenous history by exploring 11 words whose meanings have been twisted by centuries of colonization.

In each episode of “Telling Our Twisted Histories” host Kaniehti:io Horn (Letterkenny) guides listeners through conversations with more than 70 people from 15 Indigenous communities whose lands now make up Quebec, New Brunswick and Labrador in Canada. Season one will focus on words such as "Savage", "Reserve", "School" and "Indian Time." The podcast debuted May 31 with new weekly episodes until Aug. 2.

The director of the “Telling Our Twisted Histories” podcast is Ossie Michelin, an Inuk from North West River, Labrador where he grew up in a large family of storytellers before becoming an award-winning journalist.

Show host Kaniehti:io Horn says, “Savage. Reserve. Indian Time. Words connect us, but also have the power to wound, erase and replace us … As Indigenous people, we are used to our stories getting a little twisted. This podcast is all about exploring some of these words, with humour and truth, so that we all better understand how they impact us to this day.”

Listen to the podcast here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/906-telling-our-twisted-histories

As part of Indigenous History Month, CBC Ontario partnered with seven Indigenous artists and asked them to depict their “interpretation of community, National Indigenous History Month (NIHM) and National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD).”

The seven artists, Jacenia Desmoulin, Patrick Hunter, Naomi Peters, Ziibiikwans, Mikaila Stevens, Brent Beauchamp and Simon Brascoupé, each shared a beautiful illustration of their views and offered insights for their illustrations.

Canada's Indigenous relations offers a wider range of free to download promotional social media banners, posters, print resources and activity guides, you can also join Indigenous Day social media shares with the hashtags #NIHM2021 or #NIPD2021. They even have Zoom, smartphone and computer lockscreen backgrounds.

  • Always do a land acknowledgment in the U.S. or Canada.

Looking to give a land acknowledgement or just curious whose original tribal lands and territories you or anyone else now occupy?

Native Land website screen capture

The creators behind the scenes at Native-Land.ca have put in a tremendous amount of effort to give honor to the original peoples of Turtle Island.