Happy Indigenous People’s Day!
EYA facilitator, Mya Bordeau, from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation shares some thoughts about Indigenous People’s Day:
The date of June 21 was chosen to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day because it corresponds to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. For some Indigenous community members, it’s not only a sacred day but a day to celebrate us and our culture and contributions.
For everyone else it offers an opportunity to deepen their understanding and awareness of the unique adversities that Indigenous People face and have overcome.
Now Indigenous people are calling it Indigenous month which is more suitable. Ways we celebrate are playing traditional games, and if COVID wasn’t here we’d be able to have ceremony.
Across Canada, the day is marked by ceremonies and celebrations that highlight cultural performances and activities, displays of arts and crafts, and events that recognize the contributions by Indigenous people.
However, as Larissa Crawford, Indigenous and anti-racism researcher points out:
“To choose only to recognize certain aspects and contributions of Indigenous Peoples as worth celebrating can do more harm than good. If colonial legacies are ignored and individuals only choose to recognize the beautiful artwork or ceremony of Indigenous Peoples then not only is the harsh historical and contemporary realities of Indigenous People erased, but there is also a failure recognize the resiliency and strength it took to keep these cultures and these people alive (which only makes everything worth celebrating all that more impressive and inspiring)”
This Indigenous People’s Day
- Know whose land you are on
- Learn some Indigenous language – you could make someone’s day by taking the time to learn a few greeting and parting words
- Support Indigenous businesses and services.
- Know the protocol before going to powwows or a ceremony
- Understand that it is not the job of Indigenous People to teach you: Individuals should not expect that all Indigenous people are experts on all things Indigenous, or that they have the time and energy to teach.