Leaders, communities and organizations across northwestern Ontario and the Treaty #3 territory are celebrating the region’s Indigenous values, cultures and teachings this month, as the region takes part in National Indigenous History Month.

Kenora Rainy-River MPP and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford, says now is the time to reflect on the Indigenous teachings and leaders that have helped to shape our country into what it is today.

"National Indigenous History Month provides an opportunity for all Ontarians to celebrate Indigenous heritage, diversity and culture while acknowledging and reflecting on the achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

“This month is an ideal time to learn more about the rich history of the Indigenous peoples who shaped our province and our country. Acknowledging our shared history builds understanding and helps preserve Indigenous culture, traditions and languages.”

“Although we cannot gather in person this year to mark this important occasion, there are many opportunities to participate in virtual events taking place throughout the month and I encourage everyone to take part,” said Rickford, in a prepared statement.

June is recognized as National Indigenous History Month across Canada. The Government of Canada said while events will look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating Indigenous history is still as important as ever.

“In June, Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to recognize the strength of present-day Indigenous communities.”

“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance and sacred nature of cultural ceremonies and celebrations that usually occur during this time. While celebrations and events for National Indigenous History Month may be different this year than those in the past, we can still share and learn from stories, traditions and culture in new ways that keep us together and connected.”

June 21 is recognized as National Indigenous Peoples Day, but it took many years for the solidarity day to finally be recognized across the nation.

In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day on June 21. Legislature is Quebec recognized the day to celebrate Indigenous culture in 1990.

By 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples called for a day to be designated as National First Peoples Day. The assembly called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The day was finally recognized across Canada in 1996, announced by then Governor General of Canada, Romeo LeBlanc.

In 2008, then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a fully apology on behalf of all Canadians for the Indian Residential School system. In 2009, the entire month of June was declared National Aboriginal History Month by a unanimous vote in the House of Commons. In 2017, the name was updated to use the term Indigenous.

For more information:
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