June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a time to recognize and celebrate the history, contributions and culture of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.
Did you know?
- The day was first introduced in 1996 and re-named to National Indigenous Peoples Day later in 2017.
- June 21 was chosen as the date because for many Indigenous Peoples and communities, the solstice is a time of celebration. In 2020, the summer solstice falls on June 20.
- National Indigenous Peoples Day is part of the annual nationwide Celebrate Canada period which includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and Canada Day (July 1).
For Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples, June is the perfect month to immerse yourself in Indigenous history and culture — here are some of our favourite ways to dig in.
EPL has many book lists with fantastic Indigenous reads for people of all ages. Here are some great options to read right now with digital-only titles:
- Prairie Indigenous eBook Collection: This online collection of stories by Indigenous authors and writings about Indigenous culture includes over 200 titles from publishers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
- Indigenous eBooks for kids: Our staff put together these lists of fun and gentle reads for little ones and stories for Kindergarteners and up.
- Post-TRC reads: Miranda Jimmy from Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton (RISE), a group of citizens in the Edmonton region committed to reconciliation in actions and words, shares her picks for continued learning five years after the release of the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Report and Calls to Action.
Once branches re-open and EPL’s physical collection is available, be sure to check out these book lists.
If you prefer video to words, check out:
- EPL’s own Indigenous 101 videos, which explain key elements of Indigenous culture. The first video on flint knapping (creating tools from rock) is available now, but stay tuned for more!
- EPL Staff Picks of Indigenous movies and documentaries with streaming options from Hoopla and Overdrive — all available for free with your EPL card!
- EPL’s Voices of Amiskwaciy, a space that supports the community to create, share, discover and celebrate local Indigenous content online.
- The National Film Board of Canada’s “Indigenous Voices and Reconciliation” channel with plenty of free movies and documentaries.
- This three-part documentary following Cree filmmaker Eli Hirtle as he travels to Indigenous communities across Alberta to explore ongoing language revitalization efforts.
If you'd like to start at the root of all things, take some time to learn a new language. Here are a few options to consider:
- Maskwacis Cree is a free app for Apple devices that teaches Cree words and phrases in popular categories such as food, home, body parts and more.
- This online dictionary translates English words into Cree and even has a syllabic converter. Available for adults and for kids.
- These online language lessons teach basic words and phrases in Cree and Michif.
- For visual learners, these video lessons teach Cree, Saulteaux and Nakoda.
If you’re looking to gain more general knowledge about Indigenous history and culture, check these out:
- Maskosis Goes to School is a free app for both Android and Apple devices that teaches kids about pow wows, traditional Cree celebrations, values, basic Cree language structure and much more.
- The Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Center virtual library is a collection of resources on First Nations environments, languages, culture and identities for students in Kindergarten up to Grade 12. The library is also a great source of information on history and perspectives on Treaty No. 6, Treaty No. 7 and Treaty No. 8. The best part? Check out the tutorial from The Amazing Race’s Anthony and James!
- Indigenous Canada is a free online course from the University of Alberta that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. There are 12 lessons with topics including the fur trade, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts, alliances and activism and contemporary Indigenous life and art.
No matter your preference, EPL provides many ways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples to learn about Indigenous history and culture — on June 21 or any day of the year. Want to deepen your understanding? Check out all Indigenous-related activities and content from EPL.