Come, join in pow wows, songs and dances on June 20 to mark National Aboriginal Day

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Every June 21, diverse and colourful events are held across the province to celebrate the contributions Indigenous people have made to Ontario and Canada.

National Aboriginal Day events invite us to learn more about Indigenous history, perspectives and culture, and help us build stronger relationships rooted in mutual respect and understanding. For Ontario, this is the foundation for lasting reconciliation.

David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, said: “On June 21, I am proud to join families across the province to celebrate National Aboriginal Day through music, dance, stories, food and more. This is a phenomenal opportunity to honour the ongoing contributions of Indigenous people and our shared history.”

The Algonquin Pikwakanagan pow wow

This June 21, the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, check out one of the events happening in your community, such as:

  • Sunrise Ceremony and Flag Raising, presented by the City of Toronto Aboriginal Celebration Committee, June 21, Toronto City Hall, Toronto
  • Niagara Falls, lit in the colours of the Medicine Wheel (yellow, red, blue and white), June 21, Niagara Falls
  • Thunder Bay National Aboriginal Day, June 21, Fort William First Nation Pow Wow Grounds, Thunder Bay
  • National Aboriginal Day Celebration at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, June 21, Midland
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Pow wows are sacred gathering of indigenous peoples to honour the past, renew friendships and celebrate with music, song, food, dance and storytelling.

Celebrating Indigenous culture and history is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.

  • National Aboriginal Day is the first day of Celebrate Canada Days, followed by the National Holiday of Quebec on June 24 and concluding with Canada Day on July 1.
  • Former Governor General Roméo LeBlanc declared June 21 as National Aboriginal Day in 1996. June 21 was chosen because of the cultural significance of summer solstice and because it is a day on which many Indigenous communities in Canada celebrate their heritage.
  • Ontario has the largest Aboriginal population of any Canadian province, with more than 210,000 First Nations people, more than 86,000 Métis and just over 2,500 Inuit.
  • The name “Ontario” comes from an Iroquois word meaning beautiful lake or beautiful water and was first used for Lake Ontario.
  • Ontario designated the first week of November to be Treaties Recognition Week to promote public education and awareness about treaties and the treaty relationship. – CINEWS
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