What's on for Aboriginal Day in N.W.T., Nunavut and Yukon

Saturday is National Aboriginal Day, and that means free fish in Yellowknife, a square dance in Iqaluit, and stew and bannock in Whitehorse, among other events.
Metis dancers perform at National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Yellowknife in 2010. (CBC)

Saturday is National Aboriginal Day and here are a few of the events happening around the territories:


  • In Yellowknife, the North Slave Metis Alliance holds its Aboriginal Day free fish fry from noon to 5 p.m. at Somba K'e civic plaza with music, artists and a teepee building contest.
  • The Yellowknives Dene First Nation is holding a celebration at the Yellowknife River site from 4 to 10 p.m. which will begin with a Giant Mine healing ceremony, followed by a fish fry and drum dance. 
  • The Ulukhaktok Community Corporation is holding a community barbecue and will also be serving traditional foods such as duck, geese, Arctic char, reindeer and seal meat.
  • Aklavik is also holding a community barbecue. "Being one of the few communities that has two totally different cultures, the Inuvaluit and the Gwich'in, it's a good day to represent or celebrate their heritage and cultures and get everyone together to have a good time," says organizer Fred Behrens.
  • Aboriginal Day is a statutory holiday in N.W.T., so many stores and offices will be shut on Monday


  • Iqaluit's Summer Solstice Run starts at 11:30 a.m. from Nakasuk school.
  • A Family Fun Day fundraiser starts at noon at Iqaluit's Arctic Winter Games arena.
  • Alianait is putting on a square dance at Nakasuk school at 7 p.m. David Serkoak and a group of children will begin the evening with drum dancing. "We'll have a square dance performance led by Lasaluusie and Danny Ishulutak from Pangnirtung and then we'll open it up to a jigging contest . . . then we'll open up the floor for the community to do a square dance," says Kathleen Merritt, the co-ordinator with the Alianait Arts Festival.


  • This year, Aboriginal Day celebrations in Whitehorse are being held at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre from noon to 5 p.m. The event begins with a water ceremony, followed by music, storytelling, dancing, a craft fair, as well as stew and bannock.
  • There are also Aboriginal Day celebrations being held in Dawson City at the TrondekHwechin Cultural Centre.