NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY

June 21, 2021
Today is the 25th Anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to recognize the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.  It is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous Peoples.
 
Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs.
 
In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and 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.
 
Among the various visual elements illustrating Indigenous cultures, the sun (the summer solstice) is at the center which is at the heart of the festivities. The First Nations, Inuit and Métis as well as the four elements of nature (earth, water, fire, and air) are represented in the image and shown opposite. The whole visual is supported by a multicolored smoke* reminding us of Indigenous spirituality but also the colors of the rainbow – symbol of inclusion and diversity of all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and their members.
 
*Smoke is used in different ways by all three Indigenous groups in Canada. Whether it is to smoke fish and meat, to burn sage and tobacco or for sacred ceremonies or celebrations, it is a significant symbol in Indigenous cultures.
 
Description of the three icons
The eagle to represent the First Nations peoplesThe narwhal to represent the Inuit peoplesThe violin to represent the Métis peoples

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