June 21st, 2021, marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day, an occasion to “recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.”
Announced in 1996, National Indigenous Peoples Day is the result of consultations with and statements of support from multiple Indigenous organizations. National Indigenous Peoples Day is observed on June 21st because of the significance that summer solstice holds for many Indigenous Peoples.
On this day, we honour and celebrate the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) People on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory Indigitization operates. In particular, we thank the Musqueam Archives and Research Department for their continued support and invaluable contributions to our program. As well, we hold up the important work that many Indigenous communities are undertaking to digitize and manage their cultural heritage materials.
We also take a moment to acknowledge that the Government of Canada classifies National Indigenous Peoples Day as part of the Celebrate Canada program, which includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Canadian Multiculturalism Day, and Canada Day. At Indigitization, we affirm the political sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples and resist notions of Indigenous Peoples as cultural groups subsumed by the Canadian state. We celebrate the brilliance of Indigenous Peoples, and we recognize the continuance of this brilliance in the face of the ongoing violences of settler colonialism.
As we head into the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), we also take time today to celebrate Indigenous futures and reflect on how we can better support the revitalization of Indigenous languages moving forward. Sarah Dupont says, “Language is the foundation of culture. It holds knowledge, stories, songs, dances, and protocols that have been passed down over millennia.” You can learn more about the strategic recommendations for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages by reading the Los Pinos Declaration here.
To celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, consider attending some of these amazing events: