National Indigenous Peoples Day
2023 National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations at Memorial University
June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Join the Indigenous Student Resource Centre for NIPD celebrations! We will celebrate the day with lunch, tea, and coffee, happening June 21, 12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at Juniper House, home of the ISRC, located at 208 Elizabeth Avenue. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Transportation can be provided to the First Light event at the Techniplex.
About National Indigenous Peoples Day
On June 21 National Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes and celebrates the history, heritage, resilience, and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.
Across North America many Indigenous groups and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on June 21 or around that time of year due to the significance of the summer solstice. As the longest day of the year, the summer solstice holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for many Indigenous peoples – it symbolizes a new season of life, a chance to start fresh and leave past burdens behind. Summer solstice celebrations typically incorporate traditional ceremony, music, dancing, drumming, feasts, and story sharing.
In 1996 National Aboriginal Day, now National Indigenous Peoples Day, was announced by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day. This was the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups. In 2017 National Aboriginal Day was renamed National Indigenous Peoples Day.
There are a number of ways you can celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day and deepen your understanding of Indigenous cultures:
1. Attend an event in your city.
At the St. John's campus the Office of Indigenous Affairs and the Indigenous Student Resource Centre celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with a lunch at Juniper House. We support the hard work and amazing effort of First Light, the St. John's Friendship Centre, and encourage students, faculty, and staff to participate in their NIPD events:
- Sunrise Ceremony, 6 a.m. at Cavell Park (40 Quidi Vidi Road).
- Family Stage, 2:30 p.m. at Techniplex (39 Churchill Avenue), featuring Kilautiup Songuninga and more.
- Mawi'omi, 5:00 p.m. at Techniplex (39 Churchill Avenue), featuring Kiju Boyz, Muskrat Singers, Wape'k Muin, and more.
At the Grenfell Campus, Indigenous Affairs participates in and promotes community programming in Corner Brook:
- Sunrise Ceremony, 6:00 a.m. at Margaret Bowater Park, hosted by Corner Brook Aboriginal Women’s Association (CBAWA).
- Ceremony and Celebration, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Majestic Lawn (3 Church Street), hosted by Qalipu First Nation. There will be a BBQ, drumming, singing, and activities for kids.
2. Stream Indigenous-created content.
Watch or listen to Indigenous content on TV, radio, and online. Celebrate and learn from the many Indigenous creators making movies, music, podcasts, and more. Check out this article by CBC for links to a range of great programming, and don't forget to check out the National Film Board.
Interested in podcasts and radio? Try a deep dive into the listening archives of just some of many Indigenous shows and podcasts available:
- Telling Our Twisted Histories. Words connect us. Words hurt us. Indigenous histories have been twisted by centuries of colonization. Host Kaniehti:io Horn brings us together to decolonize our minds– one word, one concept, one story at a time.
- Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Host Rosanna Deerchild takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country.
- 2 Crees in a Pod explores a deep conversation about Indigenous knowledge and how this way of life and learning is critical for Indigenous people today.
- A Tribe Called Geek is a nerd-culture podcast that prides itself on its “Indigenerdity.” The ATCG website covers everything from comics, STEM, cosplaying, art, entertainment and more.
3. Read a book written by an Indigenous author.
The literature available is amazing and diverse, from graphic novels to short stories, comprehensive histories, and more, the options are endless. This year we are featuring Indigenous memoirs published through Memorial University Press:
- Paulus Maggo, Remembering the Years of My Life (April 1999). The story of a man with compelling dignity and wisdom, and a testament to Inuit ingenuity, cooperation, and self-governance that existed prior to 1949.
- Louie Montague, I Never Knowed it Was Hard (April 2013). A 77-year-old Nunatsiavut (Inuit) elder from North West River, Labrador, recounts in rich detail the way of life in “them days.”
- John Nick Jeddore, Moccasin Tracks (July 2015). The remarkable memoirs of Mi’kmaw elder John Nick Jeddore, who recounts a lifetime of following in his ancestors’ footsteps. Winner of the Peter Cashin Prize 2016.
- Calvin White, One Man’s Journey (June 2023). The story of the Mi’kmaw movement in Newfoundland, told through the personal recollections of respected Elder Calvin White.