National Indigenous Peoples Day 2018

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day!  Today we recognize the fundamental importance, contributions, and resilience of Indigenous peoples in the cultural fabric of Canada. It’s also an opportunity to look forward to the work that needs to be done to address the difficult legacy of our shared past.

National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed in 1996 by former Governor General Roméo A. LeBlanc. On June 21, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the intention to rename National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Peoples Day.

At the EHC, our stated vision is an Edmonton that embraces its diverse heritage, inclusive of all people, communities, and cultures on Treaty 6 territory. In this spirit, we’ve pulled together a handy list (in no particular order) of ways to recognize, listen learn, and connect with the history and culture of Indigenous peoples in Amiskwacîwâskahikan:

  • Attend the National Indigenous Peoples Day Festival at Victoria Park. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures will be celebrated through interactive experiences, cultural demonstrations, artisans, cuisine, and live concerts. Hosted by the Canadian Native Friendship Centre, the festival is free and open to everyone.
  • Sign-up for the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada MOOC. This free module-based course is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.
  • Read the 94 Calls to Action outlined in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Final Report, or commit to reading the Final Report of the Truth & Reconciliation of Canada and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. You can read it on your own or form a reading group to help you stay committed to your goal of going through the full report and help support you as you process its meaning and significance.
  • Get to know some of the Indigenous artists who will be featured in the new Indigenous Art Park at the site of the old Queen Elizabeth pool. The City of Edmonton, Confederacy of Treaty No. 6 First Nations, Métis Nation of Alberta, Edmonton Arts Council, and Indigenous artists have partnered since 2013 to develop an Indigenous Art Park that will permanently exhibit Indigenous artworks. The park is expected to open to the public in Fall 2018.
  • Visit the Amiskwaciy History Series Youtube Channel. The Amiskwaciy History Series is an Indigenous-led grassroots initiative aimed at creating awareness regarding the often-untold Indigenous history of the Edmonton area.
  • Follow Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton (RISE) on Facebook and Twitter. RISE is doing great work leading critical conversations about truth and reconciliation in Edmonton.
  • The Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta has compiled a handy list of publications covering a broad range of issues and themes addressing the diverse experiences, history, and culture of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit from coast to coast to coast.  The Edmonton Public Library also has a broad collection of material to explore in their Indigenous Collection.
  • Subscribe to the City of Edmonton’s Indigenous Relations Office Community Bulletin for news, events, and opportunities to get engaged and active in the community.
  • Learn about the Indigenous history of Amiskwacîwâskahikan; from the history of the Papaschase and the Rossdale area, to the ongoing work and research around the Charles Camsell Hospital site and the colonial history of a segregated healthcare system for Indigenous People in Edmonton.
  • Tune-in to the voices closest to the issues. Blogs like âpihtawikosisânmediaindigena, and CJSR’s acimowin radio program offer unique access points and perspectives on relevant cultural issues.
  • Commit to an inclusive and respectful corporate culture and sign-up for the Indigenous Partnership Development Program. Developed by Executive Education at the Alberta School of Business and the Faculty of Native Studies, this program is designed to help non-Indigenous business and public-sector employees work more effectively alongside Indigenous communities with greater understanding.

This list is not exhaustive by any means. However, it represents a few small steps to help start a larger conversation about truth, reconciliation, and cultural learning. We hope it sparks curiosity and action today and into the future.

If we’ve missed a neat opportunity, voices in the conversation, or a community resource, please drop us a line or leave a suggestion in the comments!