Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21 as National Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly known as National Aboriginal Day) because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice. Many Indigenous communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a wonderful opportunity to become better acquainted with the cultural diversity and unique contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples that have been significant in the formation of what we now call Canada. This recognition must extend beyond one day. Incorporating lessons in our classrooms about indigenous peoples, hosting interactive events and inviting Indigenous voices into the classroom are all ways that we can help to inform our students and staff about the outstanding contributions and diverse cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Showing gratitude with territorial acknowledgements before trustee board meetings and in our schools is one small way in which we are beginning to recognize, give thanks to, and honour the original nations that once called this land their home. In the Waterloo Region, we acknowledge that the territory on which our schools and facilities are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Neutral peoples. It is with deep gratitude and respect that we are honoured to be able to care for and educate students on their traditional lands.