Here are ways to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day in Waterloo region, Guelph and area

Tuesday is National Indigenous Peoples Day and there a number of ways people in Waterloo region and Guelph can mark the day. Events include a film screening Sunday evening, a sunrise ceremony and an in-person gathering on Tuesday and a powwow next weekend during the K-W Multicultural Festival.

Celebrations on Tuesday include sunrise ceremony in Kitchener, in-person event in Guelph

A sunrise ceremony is planned outside TheMuseum in downtown Kitchener at 5:59 a.m. Tuesday to mark the summer solstice and the start of National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Peggy Lam/CBC)

National Indigenous Peoples Day is Tuesday and there are many ways to mark the occasion locally.

Local libraries have special programs to help inform and education, like Waterloo Public Library's website with links to various resources like books, videos and activities and Kitchener Public Library's DiscoveREAD, a surprise bag that contains three items that showcase works by Indigenous authors, creators, actors. 

Below is a list of events that begin Sunday evening and run through to next weekend.

Cedar Hill Singers and Drummers

12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday

Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum, 10 Huron Rd., Kitchener

Indigenous presenters Cedar Hill Singers of Kitchener will present stories through drumming, music and dance. 

'Kayak to Klemtu' film screening

7 p.m., Sunday

Hosted online by the Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford

The Woodland Culture Centre will host a digital screening of the movie Kayak to Klemtu, which tells the story of a 14-year-old named Ella who goes on a kayak journey after her uncle Kitasoo/Xai'Xais dies. Ella's goal is to take his ashes home to Klemtu, but she also needs to get there in time to protest a proposed pipeline that would cross Indigenous land.

Registration is required.

Programs on CBC TV and CBC Gem

Starting at 7 p.m., Sunday

CBC TV and CBC Gem have a number of programs Sunday evening:

  • 7 p.m. — The Road to Here, The Errol Ranville Story, which follows Indigenous music legend Errol "C-Weed" Ranville as he reconstructed his life and career after a tragic car crash.
  • 8 p.m. — 2022 INDSPIRE Awards, which celebrates outstanding achievements from Indigenous peoples in Canada.
  • 9 p.m. — Oshkikishikaw (New Day), a short doc that follows Cree twins Tapwewin and Pawaken who are turning twelve. As a rite of passage into the next phase of their lives, they travel with their family to Attawapiskat to take part in a sacred first haircut ceremony.
  • 9:30 p.m. — Still Standing, "Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON" that follows the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte who are focused on building a better tomorrow while keeping the traditions of their past.

Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre gathering

10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday

St. Paul University College Sacred Fire Grounds, University of Waterloo

This event will include a ceremonial fire, eagle feather teaching, tobacco planting and drumming. 

At First Light

Start: 5:59 a.m., Tuesday

In front of TheMuseum, downtown Kitchener

The day begins with a sunrise ceremony led by fire keeper Al McDonald and Haudenosaunee community elder Kelly Fran Davis.

At the event in 2018, Fran Davis told CBC K-W that summer solstice is used as an opportunity to show gratitude for the life and resources people are given. 

"We're here to celebrate our culture. It certainly gives an opportunity across Canada for people to recognize Indigenous people and who we are," Fran Davis said.

Art installations

All day

Waterloo Town Square, Waterloo Park

In Waterloo Town Square there will be a special art installation by local Indigenous illustrator and muralist Luke Swinson.

In Waterloo Park, Métis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers has an installation called #hopeandhealingcanada.

Tracey-Mae Chambers works on part of the Hope and Healing Canada installation at the Guelph Civic Museum in 2021. Similar site-specific installations were done this year at the Idea Exchange in Preston, McDougall Cottage in Cambridge, Schneider Haus in Kitchener, Doon Heritage Village in Kitchener and in Waterloo Park. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

Tracey-Mae Chambers art installation

All day

Cambridge Art Galleries, Idea Exchange Preston, 435 King St. E.

Métis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers has done a site-specific art installation using crochet and knit pieces made with red yarn. The installation is on display until June 25.

Celebration of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday

Riverside Park, Guelph

This in-person event near the bandshell at Riverside Park will include music, dancing, drumming and stories. There will also be Indigenous food and craft vendors.

The city also has online content from local members of the Indigenous community including authors Thomas King, Rene Meshake and Brittany Luby, artist Jessie Buchanan and a culinary demonstration by Jennifer Martin, among other videos.

A dancer takes part in an event to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in Guelph in 2018. This year, the in-person event will be held at Riverside Park near the bandshell. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Family Drum Night Powwow Drum

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tuesday

Healing of the Seven Generations, 300 Frederick St., Kitchener

This is a weekly event where people gather to share stories, sing and dance. People do not need to drum to attend. The youth drum portion is for the first half hour, then the rest of the time is the men's drum. Contact the group for more details and to register.

CBC National Indigenous Peoples' Day programming

CBC Music will have a full day of radio programming to highlight the work of Indigenous artists and composers. 

From 6 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. on CBC Radio One (89.1 FM) listen to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition for local coverage of the day's events.

At 1 p.m. on CBC Radio One, listen to Unreserved with host Rosanna Deerchild, who hits the powwow trail to celebrate culture and community. 

The CBC Kids morning lineup on CBC TV will offer special programming including episodes of Molly of Denali and short items featuring Indigenous culture and heritage.

CBC TV and CBC Gem will be broadcasting and streaming a selection of Indigenous-led documentaries, films and series throughout the day and late night on June 21, including: 

  • 7 p.m. — Mashkawi-Manidoo Bimaadiziwin Spirit to Soar, an episode of The Passionate Eye which looks at an inquest into the mysterious deaths of seven First Nations high school students in Thunder Bay, Ont.
  • 8 p.m. — Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife), a film which takes place at a seasonal fishing camp where two families endure conflict between the nobleman Adiits'ii and his best friend Kwa. After Adiits'ii causes the accidental death of Kwa's son, he flees into the rainforest, descending into madness and transforming into Gaagiixid – "the Wildman."
  • 10 p.m. — The National will show viewers about the budding Indigenous tourism trade and the success story of Shoal Lake in northwestern Ontario. After living under a boil-water advisory for 24 years, the First Nation community built an award-winning water treatment plant. The National is also available at 9 p.m. on CBC News Network and CBC Gem.

Nomad: Correcting the Narrative with Susan Aglukark

Thursday, June 23, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Hosted by: University of Waterloo Office of Indigenous Relations

Canadian musician Susan Aglukark will lead this free webinar to talk about the history and journey of Canadian Inuit through songs, stories, film, photos and music videos. 

"NOMAD also gives a glimpse of the resilience and determination of a people who have maintained a quiet dignity despite near annihilation by disease and rapid change, a glimpse of the strengths of the traditional culture," the event description says.

Registration is required.

K-W's Indigenous People's Day Powwow

12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26

Victoria Park, Kitchener

The powwow will take place on Roo's Island in the park as part of the K-W Multicultural Festival.

Organizers say they will be "celebrating our truth together in community" and settlers are welcome to take part.

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Kate Bueckert


Kate has been covering issues affecting people in southern Ontario for more than 15 years. She currently works for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Email: