Explore Canada! Blog Series – this is the first in a new series of blog posts from your International Relations team focused on Canadian culture, history, people, events, etc to promote opportunities to get out and explore Toronto, Ontario, and Canada.

June 21st – when spring officially transitions into the summer, the longest day of year, and in Canada, National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD). Coinciding with the summer solstice, the simplest descriptor crowns NIPD as an occasion to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ culture and heritage, but that’s only part of it. The other integral layer to the celebrations is an acknowledgement and promotion of a greater understanding of the historical forces that have shaped current Indigenous realities in Canada.

As an international student at Schulich, you may not have had an opportunity to learn about or explore Indigenous presence and history in Canada, but as a student at York University, your everyday connection to Indigenous communities comes from a simple walk to your classes. The campus itself is located on the traditional territories of many Indigenous nations, including the Haudenosaunee and Wendat peoples, the Anishnabeg, the Chipppewa and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, and continues to be home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.

National Indigenous People’s Day is an important opportunity to expand on that connection and to learn more about the history and land we stand and study on.  A great starting point is What, why and how to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day written by York U student and Indigenous Student Transitions Coordinator at the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services, Larissa Crawford. In addition to providing a thoughtful explanation for why it is important to celebrate Indigenous contributions, culture, history, resilience, and realities, she provides some considerations for appropriate ways to celebrate NIPD.

Also check out Toronto For All, and the many celebrations and events happening throughout June and especially this week to deepen your understanding of Indigenous presence through art, dance, Powwows, and storytelling.  You can also check out the well-known Toronto sign at Nathan Philips Square which has been redesigned to honour NIPD.

Some events happening this week:

Na-Me-Res Traditional PowWow | Saturday, June 23 | Fort York

Toronto’s Indigenous Arts Festival | June 21-24 | Fort York National Historic Site

Toronto Zoo National Indigenous Peoples Day | June 21 | The Toronto Zoo

Aboriginal History Month Celebration | June 27, Noon – 8 p.m | Yonge-Dundas Square

Masters Indigenous Games | July 12-15