In 1996, Canada established National Aboriginal Day; in 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government’s intention to rename this day of observance National Indigenous Peoples Day.
According to Prime Minister Trudeau, on this day, “...we join together on this day to recognize the fundamental contributions that First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation have made to the identity and culture of all Canadians. The history, art, traditions, and cultures of Indigenous Peoples have shaped our past, and continue to shape who we are today.”
But what does this really mean, in terms of Truth and Reconciliation and non-Indigenous celebration and allyship?
Aside from celebrating and acknowledging, how can we move further into true allyship and support of Indigenous Peoples and work toward more integrated and peaceable relationships with the peoples who inhabited these lands first?
Read Blogs about Indigenous Issues and Allyship
Learning more about Indigenous culture and history in Canada is a crucial first step on the way to true Reconciliation. This excellent list compiled by Georgian College of 21 Things You Can Do on (and beyond) June 21 is a great place to start. Find resources for steps to take from “Read through the Indigenous Ally Toolkit or How to Become an Indigenous Ally” to “Start listening to a new Indigenous-created podcast” and “Follow and amplify the voices of Indigenous people through social media platforms.”
There are so many resources available for those of us looking to expand our understanding of Indigenous culture and impact where we live. Below, one of our New Society Publishers staff members shares their own journey toward reconciliation within the Canadian framework.
“Over the last two years, I've listened to Indigenous Mentors, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers through the portal of Culturally Committed, and I'm incredibly grateful for the lessons I've learned. Building trust-based relationships has increased my cultural competency when engaging with Indigenous colleagues and community members. This slow moving, long-term and Indigenous relational way of being differs from much of the culture I've experienced – the opportunity to sit, listen, and understand the Mentors consistently encourages me to fully commit to advocate for authentic action wherever I can in my working and personal life, and support Indigenous self-determination.
This Indigenous people's day, educate yourself on the history of the Nation where you live, support Indigenous-owned businesses, amplify their voices, and attend events near you. For anyone interested in pursuing allyship to engage with topics of reconciliation on Indigenous People's Day, I highly recommend Culturally Committed’s online resources for learning.”