National Indigenous History Month

The schools in the W.C.D.S.B are situated on the land that is the traditional home of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Neutral People. We acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We seek a new relationship with the Original People of this land, one based on honour and deep respect. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn here and reaffirm our collective commitment to make the promise and the challenge of Truth and Reconciliation real in our community.

The follow timeline and many of the virtual links to information are from the Indigenous Corporate Training Blog, .

The month of June is an opportunity for all Canadians to learn about Indigenous history together. Specifically, June 21st, National Indigenous Peoples Day, is a moment for all Canadians to come together and celebrate with Indigenous Peoples.

Prayer for National Indigenous Peoples Day

Creator God,
We look at your world and praise you for the diversity all around us.
Thank you for the gift of relationships; our connection with people, animals and the land.
Help us, Lord, to see differences and diversity as strengths.
Help us to listen and understand; to meet one another with wonder and anticipation.
Help us to love as you love, without expectation.
Reveal to us your way of reconciliation and guide us into right relationships with all living things.
Lead us to understand how Indigenous peoples have been and continue to be profoundly harmed by settler people and institutions.
Lead us to repent when we as settlers deny Indigenous peoples respect, dignity and fullness of life.
Helps us listen compassionately, to speak humbly and to act justly.
Help us to seek the peace, justice and reconciliation you desire among all your children.
Thank you for your mercy and grace.

How Indigenous History Month Came to Be Timeline

The National Indian Brotherhood (now known as the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day on June 21.

The Quebec legislature recognized June 21 as a day to celebrate Aboriginal culture.

The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended a day be designated as National First Peoples Day. The Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people chaired by the late Elijah Harper called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Elijah Harper

Governor General Romeo LeBlanc proclaimed that National Aboriginal Day would be celebrated June 21 each year. “On June 21st, this year and every year, Canada will honour the native peoples who first brought humanity to this great land,” said Leblanc. “And may the first peoples of our past always be full and proud partners in our future.”

Prime Minister Harper offered the full apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential Schools system.

By unanimous motion in Canada’s House of Commons, the month of June was declared National Aboriginal History Month.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to change the name to National Indigenous History Month, reflecting a national and international preference for the term Indigenous, rather than Aboriginal.



Ways to Celebrate National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day

Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival

Live-stream the virtual edition of the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival from June 1 to 21. Find out more on the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival website.

Pow Wows

Springtime is Pow Wow time for many Indigenous cultures in both Canada and the U.S. Pow Wows are joyous and beautiful expressions of culture meant to uplift people after the winter. This year, many Pow Wows have gone online so you can still enjoy the dances, the regalia, and feel your spirit uplifted.




Podcasts are a series of audio files that are available online and most are structured like a TV or radio show; some are stand-alone while others have multi episodes and even seasons, and others have featured guest speakers.



What are the key issues for Indigenous Peoples in Canada?

Bob Joseph explains in the video: Namwayut: we are all one. Truth and reconciliation in Canada.


Films & Documentaries

The expression “the camera never lies” should be taken with a grain of salt when looking at how Indigenous characters have been portrayed in Hollywood over time. Reel Injun, listed below, provides more context. Indigenous representation in movies about Indigenous Peoples has come a long way.

Reel Injun (Trailer) Shadow of Dumont (Trailer)
NFB Library of Films About Indigenous People Smoke Signals (Trailer)
Reel Canada Catalogue of Indigenous Made Films Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii (Movie)
Thunderheart (Trailer) Windtalkers (Trailer)
Searching for Winnetou (Documentary)


Listen to and Learn About Some Indigenous Musicians

Indigenous Music (a website collection of composers, groups, session players, solo artists, and songwriters)


There are a great many amazing past, present and emerging Indigenous athletes. Here’s a list of just 21 outstanding Indigenous athletes.

Discover Indigenous Humor

CBC’s Unreserved devoted an episode to Indigenous comedy: Stand-up, sketch and satire: The rise of Indigenous comedy

And here is one of the many Indigenous comedians:


Visit a Museum Collection Online

Museums and Indigenous Peoples have historically had a difficult relationship. In Aboriginal Repatriation – Aboriginal Peoples and museums we provide some background on the relationship. Knowing the history of how museums formerly built up their collections provides an understanding of why museums were included in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 calls to action.

Here’s a call to action specifically for museums:

67. We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Museums Association to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a national review of museum policies and best practices to determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to make recommendations.

Spirit Bear’s Guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action

Government of Canada Resources and Activity Guide

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples In Canada Activity Guide