Each June, Canadians are invited to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous people in Canada by taking part in National Aboriginal History Month events and festivities.
Declared in 2009, National Aboriginal History Month is a time to acknowledge the role Indigenous peoples played, and continued to play, in the development of Canada, to honour Indigenous heritage and to celebrate Indigenous cultures. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the strength of present day First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities, and their hopes for the future.
This year marks the 21st anniversary of the first National Aboriginal Day in 1996! June 21 was chosen as National Aboriginal Day because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice - the first day of summer and longest day of the year, the rebirth of Mother Earth - and because many Aboriginal communities mark this day as a time to celebrate their heritage. Setting aside a day for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples is part of the wider recognition of their primary and founding place within the fabric of Canada and their ongoing contributions as First Peoples. This is a special day to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada.
It was in 1982 that the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of June 21 as National Aboriginal Solidarity Day. This call was renewed in 1995 when The Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal peoples. In 1996 National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed by former Governor General Roméo A. LeBlanc.
This has now become a day in the Canadian calendar when First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples express pride in their rich diverse cultures with their families, neighbours, friends and visitors.
Aboriginal Day 2016 is a day for the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, its member boards and for all of Canada to honour the traditions, cultures, languages and contributions of First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples.
We offer a warm thank you to the First Nations trustees who serve on OPSBA's Indigenous Trustees' Council and school boards across the province. We send greetings and good wishes to First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, parents, teachers and communities on this day of celebration.
OPSBA's First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Resources
National Aboriginal Day Learning Resources
A range of contemporary and historical resources and Ontario events