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Explore Indigenous Culture: Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

IndigenouspPatterns on fabric

June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s a day to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and immeasurable contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis across Canada. While National Indigenous Peoples Day was first established in 1996, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day, also known as the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, for generations.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to learn about the rich culture, languages, and traditions of the Indigenous people and communities that have shaped our country and the places we live.

Here are a few ideas and local events in Calgary to get you started!

If you're not in Calgary, we encourage you to see what's happening in your community this June and join the National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations.

Events in Calgary

AAWC National Indigenous Family Day and Powwow - June 22nd

At ENMAX Park, you can enjoy a pancake breakfast, an Indigenous arts and crafts market, an Indigenous Idol performance, various exhibitions, a barbecue, a handgame tournament and a traditional powwow.

Poster for National Indigenous Family Day & Powwow 2024

National Indigenous Peoples Day at Calgary Library – June 21st

Calgary Central Library is hosting traditional games, a drum circle in partnership with Miskanawah, and a book launch for Îethka: Stories and Language in Stoney Nakoda Country.   

The Library will also be featuring artwork created by Paityn Savoie, a Métis-Cree two-spirit illustrator whose art is informed by their Indigenous heritage, their connection to the natural world, and the spiritual essence of the Creator.   

Solstice Celebration – Indigenous Relations Office and Telus Spark – June 20th

At The Confluence Historic Site and Parkland, there will be a unique opportunity to observe the summer solstice. This outdoor gathering is a chance to learn about the science and significance of the sun to these lands from a local knowledge keeper, a tobacco offering and a moment of reflection. Then, enjoy family-friendly fun through science experiments led by SPARK and conclude the afternoon with a Round Dance. 

OHSOTO’KINO: Indigenous Peoples Day at Studio Bell – June 21st

As part of National Music Centre's OHSOTO’KINO initiative, join us for a special event showcasing local Indigenous song, music, and dance. The day’s lineup includes Cree Métis recording artist/songwriter, poet, and filmmaker Sandra Sutter, nêhiyaw singer-songwriter Wyatt C. Louis, and Inuvaluit singer-songwriter Willie Thrasher with his partner Linda Saddleback.

Tipi Raising with Arts Commons – June 21st

In celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, join Garret C. Smith and his Family, in partnership with Arts Commons, to raise a tipi together at Olympic Plaza.

If you can’t attend one of these amazing (and free!) events this week, there are many opportunities to support and learn all year.

Educate yourself

You can explore the many online resources, movies, documentaries, and books by Indigenous authors and artists at any time.

Here’s a list of children’s books by Indigenous authors (with information about each author) we put together last year that you can enjoy as a family:

Support Indigenous Businesses and Artists

Purchasing from Indigenous vendors and artisans supports their businesses and helps preserve and promote Indigenous cultures.

Acknowledge the Land

Recognize that Calgary is situated on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3, and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. Acknowledge this in your interactions and reflections.

Enjoy the festivities and take the opportunity to learn, connect, and honour the rich heritage of Indigenous peoples.


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