June 21st is a day to recognize and honour the resilience, culture, and contributions of Indigenous peoples across Canada.
1. What is National Indigenous Peoples Day?
National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity to recognize and honour the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples who have been living in what is now known as Canada for thousands of years. It is also a chance to learn about their histories and cultures, as well as their unique perspectives on our shared history. On this special day, we pay tribute to the rich diversity of cultures that make up this country.
2. What is the difference between First Nations, Inuit and Métis?
First Nations, Inuit and Métis are distinct Indigenous peoples in Canada.
- First Nations are Indigenous peoples who include many diverse nations with their own unique cultures, languages, traditions and histories, and are typically governed by their own leadership and governments.
- Inuit are Indigenous peoples who live in the Arctic regions of Canada such as Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Northern Quebec and Labrador. The Inuit have their own distinctive language and culture, and traditionally rely on hunting and fishing for survival.
- Métis are Indigenous peoples who have both Indigenous and European ancestry. The Métis emerged as a distinct people in the 18th century, largely as a result of the fur trade. Their culture and traditions which blend with Indigenous and European elements.
3. Why is seal so important to Indigenous people?
Seals are considered an important part of Indigenous culture and tradition for many Indigenous communities, particularly those who live in coastal areas, such as the Inuit and Inuvialuit. Seals have played a central role in Indigenous economies. Seals have been an important food source for many Indigenous peoples in Canada. Seals provide a valuable source of fat and protein that are essential for human survival in the harsh Arctic climate where other food sources are scarce or unavailable. For these cultures, the seal is not only a source of food, but it also provides materials for clothing, shelter, and tools.
4. Why Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day?
National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to honour and celebrate the unique cultures, contributions, and histories of Indigenous peoples in Canada. This day provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the rich diversity of Indigenous cultures and traditions and to learn about the history and ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples are vital members of our society and contribute significantly to Canadian culture. Their presence has had an enormous impact on our nation’s history and identity. By celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day, you are recognizing their immense contribution and showing appreciation for their resilience. We also hope that this day serves as an important reminder of the importance of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians.
5. How Can You Get Involved?
Participate in Indigenous Events
There are many ways to get involved with celebrating National Indigenous Peoples’ Day! Participating in cultural events such as Pow Wows, festivals, and attending marketplaces where Indigenous artists are promoting their creations or engaging in conversations about Indigenous issues can be a great way to show your support for Indigenous communities. You can also consider volunteering with organizations advocating for Indigenous rights. Above all else, be sure to listen respectfully when learning about topics related to indigeneity—it will go a long way towards creating meaningful relationships!
Below is a list of Indigenous related event to which you can participate or that you can help promote to share awareness about Indigenous arts, fashion & culture:
|National Seal Products Day||May 20||Ottawa||https://www.nationalsealproductday.com/|
|Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival||Jun-23||Ottawa||https://summersolsticefestivals.ca/|
|Great Northern Arts Festival||Jul-23||Inuvik||https://www.greatnorthernartsfestival.org/|
|Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week||Nov-23||Vancouver||https://vifw.ca/|
|WAG – CRAFTED||Nov-23||Winnipeg||https://www.wag.ca/events/signature-events/crafted/|
|Adäka Cultural Festival||Jun-2024||Whitehorse||https://adakafestival.ca/|
|Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival||Jun-2024||Toronto||https://indigenousfashionarts.com/|
|Northern Lights Arts and Culture Pavilion||Feb-2025||Ottawa||https://www.northernlights.events/|
Support Indigenous Businesses & Artists
You could also consider supporting local businesses owned by Indigenous people. Here is a list of Indigenous artists and businesses that you can support and some of their best sellers:
|Product picture||Product Name||Retail Value||Description|
|Ringed Sealskin and Moosehide Bottom Backpack||$450.00||Crafted from Ringed Sealskin harvested in the small Northwest Territories community of Ulukhaktok, this purse boasts a unique and beautiful texture that catches the eye and captures the imagination. The shimmering finish of the sealskin adds an element of opulence and glamour, making this purse a must-have for those with a taste for the exceptional.|
|Sealskin Snap Bracelet
|$120.00||Beautiful sealskin rolled snap cuffs (shown straight) in natural grey or dyed harp or ring sealskin 100% ethically sourced. No closure is needed for the cuff as it naturally wraps around the wrist. Kasha satin fabric lines the soft cuff which instantly elevates whatever you are wearing.|
|April’s Signature Seal/fox earrings
|$235||These V-shape sealskin earrings resemble an Inuit traditional tattoo, which is placed on the forehead of females as they enter womanhood. The silver fox fur adds a contemporary look that will leave you feeling timeless.|
|Tufted Walrus Tusk and Sealskin Earrings
|$239.00||An elevation of the walrus tusk design traditionally seen on Inuit parkas, these earrings combine traditional with contemporary art techniques including laser cut, tufting, beading, and sealskin. Lightweight, stunning pieces and original wearable art for a special occasion or make a bold statement for everyday use.|
|Murina Sealskin Pin||$120.00||
The Murina sealskin pin is a unique and beautiful piece of jewelry made from a combination of high-quality materials, including caribou hair tufting, beads, sealskin, and commercial moosehide leather.
In conclusion, National Indigenous Peoples Day provides us with an invaluable opportunity to honour the resilience, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples across Canada. This day serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians—a goal that we can all work towards achieving together. By engaging in dialogue about these issues, participating in cultural events, or supporting local businesses owned by Indigenous people today we can help create a better future for everyone. Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day!