National Aboriginal Day in Canada


National Aboriginal Day Events

National Aboriginal Day is an occasion for all Canadians to celebrate the rich contributions Indigenous Peoples, also known as Aboriginal peoples, have made to Canada. Find suggested events to help you celebrate this special day, either on your own, with family and friends, or with hundreds and thousands of other people celebrating National Aboriginal Day across Canada.

Running Thunder dancer - hoop dance
Running Thunder dancer performs hoop dance

Alberta

National Aboriginal Day

Date: June 26, 2016
Time: 1 p.m.
Location/Venue: Muskoseepi Park
City: Grande Prairie, Alberta

National Aboriginal Day Celebration

Date: June 21, 2016
Time: 12 p.m.
Location/Venue: Harry Hays Building 220 – 4 Ave SE
City: Calgary, Alberta

AAWC Family Day Festival & Pow Wow “Keeping the Circle Strong”

Date: June 25, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location/Venue: Indian Village, Enmax Park, Stampede Grounds
City: Calgary, Alberta
Website: Aboriginal Awareness Week Calgary

Boyle National Aboriginal Day Celebration

Date: June 21, 2016
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Location/Venue: Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
City: Boyle, Alberta

Blackfoot Canadian Cultural Society

Date: June 21, 2016
Time: 9 a.m.
Location/Venue: Galt Gardens
City: Lethbridge, Alberta

National Aboriginal Day at the Banff Centre

Date: June 20-22, 2016
Location/Venue: Margaret Greenham Theatre
City: Banff, Alberta
Website: National Aboriginal Day at the Banff Centre

Oti Nekan National Aboriginal Day

Date: June 21, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location/Venue: Borden Park Band shell
City: Edmonton, Alberta
Website: Oti Nekan National Aboriginal Day

Bonnyville Canadian Native Friendship Centre

Date: June 21, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location/Venue: Bonnyville Museum Grounds
City: Bonnyville, Alberta
Website: Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association

National Aboriginal Day Celebration at Métis Crossing

Date: June 26, 2016
Time: 11 a.m.
Location/Venue: Metis Crossing
City: Smoky Lake County, Alberta

Jenna Broomfield, throat singer
Jenna Broomfield, throat singer

Here are some more events happening in the coming week across Alberta:

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Metis family jiggers
Metis family jiggers perform Red River Jig

What is National Aboriginal Day?

On June 21 National Aboriginal Day is celebrating 20 years of strong vibrant cultures and traditions. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous Peoples.

Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day. For generations, many Indigenous Peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

What led to the creation of National Aboriginal Day?

National Aboriginal Day was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day. National Aboriginal Day was the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups.

  • in 1995, the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Peoples
  • also in 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day
  • in 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day

How does the Government of Canada support National Aboriginal Day?

National Aboriginal Day is part of the Celebrate Canada program, which also includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and Canada Day (July 1).

While all Government of Canada departments support National Aboriginal Day, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Canadian Heritage work together to promote it. INAC provides resources and ideas for events, while Canadian Heritage provides funding opportunities for community celebratory events.