A National Aboriginal Day celebration in Winnipeg (Photo: AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
June 21 is National Aboriginal Day, an opportunity for Canadians to celebrate the achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, and to acknowledge the contributions they've made to this country.
The day was proclaimed in 1996 by Governor General Roméo LeBlanc, and June 21 was chosen in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations because it's the summer solstice, which has important symbolism in many aboriginal cultures.
There are all sorts of celebrations and events taking place today across the country, from the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival in Ottawa to APTN's annual Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration, taking place this year in both Winnipeg and Halifax. For more events near you, check out the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) website.
Here are some interesting reads tied to the day.
- CBC News put together this quiz on Aboriginal history to get you up to speed for the day.
- Huffington Post rounded up "10 Voices That Inspire Us," from friend of the show Wab Kinew to singer Tanya Tagaq.
- CBC Aboriginal also collected a list of indigenous heroes (partially in response to this list compiled from surveys with 12,000 Canadians, which was almost entirely white men).
- In The Province, Lori Thicke used National Aboriginal Day to highlight the British Columbia's linguistic diversity — and draw attention to the aboriginal languages that are going extinct.
- Finally, to get the message out about the day, AANDC released this video:
And if you want to join in the celebrations on Twitter, use the hashtag #NADCanada.