As June arrives, we prepare to honour and celebrate National Indigenous History Month. This is a time to recognize and appreciate the rich heritage, diverse cultures, and invaluable contributions of Indigenous peoples across the country. We invite you to embark on a journey of discovery, learning, and empathy as we delve into the history and significance of this special month. Join us as we highlight the stories, voices, and experiences of Indigenous communities.
June is historically a gathering month for Indigenous peoples on the prairies, with the summer solstice being a particular time of importance. Through gathering, we come to renew our kinship with one another. EPL operates on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Metis Nation and Treaty relationships are ultimately about how we are all related to one another and the land.
Understanding National Indigenous History Month
National Indigenous History Month provides an opportunity to reflect upon the history, resilience, and ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous peoples throughout Canada's past and present. This month serves as a reminder to acknowledge and celebrate the rich cultural tapestry woven by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. It is an occasion to appreciate the immense contributions of Indigenous peoples to the social, cultural, economic, and political fabric of our communities.
Exploring Indigenous History
To better understand the complex histories and experiences of Indigenous peoples, we invite you to explore the following booklists available at Edmonton Public Library:
Indigenous History and Perspectives:
- Indigenous Writes | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- The Inconvenient Indian | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- Seven Fallen Feathers | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- Clearing the Plains | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- From the Ashes | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
Indigenous Fiction and Poetry:
- The Marrow Thieves | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- Son of a Trickster | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- Moon of the Crusted Snow | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- Heart Berries | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- In Search of April Raintree | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
Children's Books Celebrating Indigenous Culture
- When We Were Alone | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- A Day With Yayah | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- Shin-chi's Canoe | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- We Sang You Home | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
- Fatty Legs | Edmonton Public Library | BiblioCommons
By exploring these thought-provoking works, readers can gain insights into the historical injustices faced by Indigenous peoples, the resilience and strength of their cultures, and their contributions to various aspects of Canadian society.
Engaging with Indigenous Communities
To foster a deeper understanding, we encourage you to actively engage with Indigenous communities and attend events, workshops, and discussions organized by local Indigenous organizations during National Indigenous History Month. These interactions can provide valuable opportunities to listen to Indigenous voices, learn directly from community members, and participate in cultural activities. Learn about events hosted by EPL or visit the City of Edmonton’s list of events to find one happening near you.
Throughout the month of June, various EPL branches are featuring artwork from Indigenous community members with the theme of Wâhkôhtowin or kinship in our Capital City Art spaces.
We also invite you to view the permanent Indigenous art collection at the Stanley A. Milner Library which was curated by MJ Belcourt Moses, former City of Edmonton Indigenous Artist-in-Residence.
Supporting Indigenous Voices
Voices of the Land is an inclusive online space dedicated to fostering the creation, sharing, discovery, and celebration of local Indigenous content in Alberta. It serves as a platform for Indigenous individuals, communities, and organizations to share their history, knowledge, vision, and unique perspectives. It is a place where the richness of Indigenous cultures, traditions, art, language, and stories can be shared and preserved for generations to come.
National Indigenous History Month serves as a powerful reminder of the richness and diversity of Indigenous cultures and histories. Through the lens of literature, art and engagement with Indigenous communities, we can deepen our understanding, challenge our assumptions, and cultivate empathy and respect. Let us come together to honor, learn, and appreciate the contributions and experiences of Indigenous peoples in Alberta and throughout Canada.