Take the time to learn about the rich heritage of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people this June

In June, Canada commemorates National Indigenous History Month. It’s an great opportunity to learn about the history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Canada.

“From the Maliseet in Atlantic Canada, to Inuit across Inuit Nunangat, from the Métis across the Prairies and beyond, to the Haida people of the Pacific Northwest, Indigenous communities have diverse histories, customs, spiritualities, and languages. This month is an opportunity for us all to learn about local Indigenous history, and to truly walk the path of reconciliation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement marking the start of June.

“By learning about Indigenous history in our communities and across the country, we can all play a role in dismantling the systemic racism, inequality, and discrimination that Indigenous Peoples continue to face today. This month, and every month, let us celebrate the resiliency of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, and work together to build a better future for everyone,” he added.

An Indigenous Arts Festival will take place in Toronto on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 at Fort York National Historic Site; 250 Fort York Blvd. The festival is a free, community-focused event in celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music and dance, along with artisan and culinary experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples living across Turtle Island and Indigenous communities around the world.

Additional resources to help you explore the history, languages, cultures, and experiences of Indigenous Peoples across Canada are available at https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1621447127773/1621447157184

What the above picture signifies?

Among the various visual elements illustrating Indigenous cultures, the sun (the summer solstice) is at the centre 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 above. The whole visual is supported by a multicoloured smoke*, reminding us of Indigenous spirituality but also of the colours of the rainbow – a symbol of inclusion and the diversity of all First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and their members.
The eagle represents First Nations, narwhal represents Inuit and the violin represent Métis peoples.

*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.

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