National Aboriginal Day is a day recognising and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples in 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.
On 21 June 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement pledging to rename the event National Indigenous People’s 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.
National Indigenous People’s Day Quotes/Messages
No, we can’t essentialize any one community to one experience. Much like in the Indigenous community, we don’t want to be reduced to one voice, we should also acknowledge that the immigrant community has this huge diversity of experience. –Wab Kinew
I think that I was just conscious of trying to create a real human. And I think that that’s actually what we did with this film. We told a really human story in a really human way, and it’s authentic because these women happen to be native. And I think that native is not a genre. –Cara Gee
We were very impoverished because our history was denied to us. So you can imagine all the work that we have to do still. That every community, every child that’s growing, should know its history and, as much as possible, its language. –Alanis Obomsawin,
With a lot of my work, I try to create this dialogue between the settler culture and First Nations culture because we’ve been living together for hundreds of years now and we’ve been exchanging ideas and our cultures have been influencing each other. When I look at the art history…there’s not much evidence of that because the art history as told and perpetuated in our museums is still very one sided. –Kent Monkman
Native theology works in a different way. There is no heaven, there is no hell, there’s just a circle. The circle of life and death that interconnect, and that when we pass away, we leave this planet, we don’t go up or down. We stay [in] another part of the circle. –Tomson Highway
I could care less about what my audience — what stereotypes or prejudices they bring into the theatre. I’m not there to reinforce or dispel any of them. I’m just there to be honest to the characters that I created and the people I grew up around. –Jeff Barnaby
I’m not gonna fall. I’m tired of falling. I’m tired of seeing our people fall. I don’t believe in failure. It’s what we put in our minds and our hearts to succeed. And success isn’t about money. Success isn’t about the biggest house in the world. Success is about loving your family, taking care of your child. –Adam Beach
I give zero shits about what people think because there are too many personalities… I respect myself and my instincts and my emotions and I, everyday, do everything I can to be a good person. –Tanya Tagaq
For me, I really feel — as someone who grew up with very little access to our history through the education system — I feel compelled to witness and articulate and in some way visually mark current history. –Rebecca Belmore
I have two daughters at home. When I found out that there was a team within the city limits, especially in the neighbourhood where we live, called the Redskins, I just felt that having a six-year-old that doesn’t have that advantage right off the bat – like they’re already being called derogatory terms by society, and I just didn’t think that was very fair. –Ian Campeau
Everyone who’s born in the Western Hemisphere is a Native American. We are all Native Americans. – Russell Means
The truth is nobody can own anything. That was an unheard-of concept among indigenous people. We invented that. – Tom Shadyac
For the Native community here, Indigenous Peoples Day means a lot. We actually have something. We understand it’s just a proclamation, but at the same time, we also understand this is the beginning of something greater.
Through consciousness, our minds have the power to change our planet and ourselves. It is time we heed the wisdom of the ancient indigenous people and channel our consciousness and spirit to tend the garden and not destroy it. – Bruce Lipton