National Aboriginal Day, also known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, is celebrated on June 21 every year. This day is a Canadian federal holiday to recognize the efforts and contributions of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. The Aboriginal people include the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis of Canada. While the holiday is officially named National Aboriginal Day, most people refer to it as National Indigenous Peoples Day, a term more accurate because it includes all the indigenous people of Canada. National Aboriginal Day celebrates the heritage and cultures of all indigenous people in the country. It is a focus on diversity and a day worth celebrating.
History of National Aboriginal Day
National Aboriginal Day is to honor the contributions and efforts of the indigenous peoples to the country, including the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people.
The day, June 21, was chosen as it is a traditional celebration among indigenous peoples. Most indigenous people celebrate their heritage during the summer solstice, and the Governor-General of Canada at the time decided that the best way to honor the Aboriginal people was, to begin with, their traditional holidays and celebrations. The day resulted from numerous calls for a day that honored and celebrated the indigenous peoples of Canada, who were set aside and subjected to racist policies and discrimination. The day celebration began as a self-declared celebration and later evolved into a day where all the First Nations came together in solidarity.
For a long time, the day was for all the different First Nations of Canada to express their solidarity and embrace their heritage and cultures. Later the indigenous people’s representatives called for an official celebration to recognize the contributions of the indigenous peoples to the country. The day was eventually designated as National Aboriginal Day and absorbed as part of the Celebrate Canada festivities of the Canadian government. This series of public holidays celebrate the variety of cultures of Canada and is used to foster Canadian pride.
National Aboriginal Day timeline
Jules Sioui and chiefs across Turtle Islands declare an Indian Day.
The Assembly of First Nations calls for a National Indian Solidarity Day on June 21.
The Commission and indigenous people request a day to celebrate Indigenous people.
Canadian Governor General Romeo Leblanc declares June 21 as a federal holiday.
National Aboriginal Day FAQs
Is Indigenous Day a statutory holiday in Canada?
Indigenous Day is a statutory holiday in federal workspaces, but in other spaces, it depends on the provincial laws.
What happened to indigenous people in Canada?
Children were stolen from Indigenous people and sent to residential schools to forcibly integrate them into white society.
Do First Nations pay tax in Canada?
First Nations and other indigenous people pay the same taxes as other citizens of Canada.
How to Observe National Aboriginal Day
Visit a community celebration
Several celebrations are organized to celebrate this day. Find a one near you and join in the fun.
Learn about indigenous peoples
This day is to celebrate the achievements of indigenous peoples. Educate yourself on their contributions so you can celebrate meaningfully.
Donate to fundraising events
A lot of non-governmental organizations organize fundraising events on this day. Contribute to the indigenous people by donating generously to these fundraising events.
5 Interesting Facts About Canadian Indigenous People
Native Canadians are valued
About 3.8% of the total population of Canada is indigenous people.
There are a lot of languages
There are over 50 different indigenous languages in the country.
The largest concentration is in Ontario
About 22% of indigenous people of Canada live in Ontario.
Six Nations is the largest reserve
With over 27,000 members, Six Nations is the largest reserve in Canada.
Cree is the most spoken language
There are over 96,500 fluent speakers of the Cree language.
Why National Aboriginal Day is Important
We love people celebrating themselves
We admire people who appreciate themselves and their heritage. We think it’s important to love yourself and where you come from.
We want to learn more
We think that people don’t know as much as they should about the indigenous peoples. We want to learn more respectfully.
We love the diversity
We think it’s so exciting to see the different cultures and languages in the country. We want more people to know about it.
National Aboriginal Day dates