National Indigenous History Month
June is National Indigenous History Month, which is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the resilience, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.
Indigenous histories are significant to Indigenous pride and cultures, and are fundamental to the identities of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The knowledge passed down by Elders and Knowledge Keepers connects families, communities and generations. These histories and cultures have protected Indigenous identities against hundreds of years of colonial policies, and have played a key role in Canadian history and society. Each week in June will be dedicated to a different theme to highlight specific aspects of Indigenous histories, cultures and experiences, including traditional knowledge, language, and reconciliation. June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, which also marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and a culturally significant day for many Indigenous communities across Canada.
While this is a time to celebrate, we also reflect on how Canada’s historic wrongs have impacted its current relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the ongoing work to advance reconciliation. Our colonial past and the harmful policies that were implemented are the direct cause of many systemic issues that Indigenous Peoples face today.
As communities across Canada continue to uncover the horrific truths of former residential schools, we are reminded that Indigenous Peoples have shared these stories for 150 years only to be ignored. And yet, as we move forward, there is a sense of optimism and hope for the generations to come, because Canada is working hand in hand with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to advance their priorities and renew these relationships. Together, we are building a more united and reconciled country.
There is still more to do, and it requires effort across Canada, in all walks of life. All levels of government, the private sector, and civil society have a shared responsibility to take action and work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples towards systemic and lasting change. This starts with learning about and understanding our shared history.
We encourage all Canadians to learn more about Indigenous knowledge and the unique histories, cultures and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada, and how we are working together to build a stronger country. - Statement by The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations; the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor; and the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage
Take the first steps in your educational journey: