National Indigenous History Month

National Indigenous History Month

June was designated National Indigenous History Month in Canada since 2009, but we believe every month should be considered Indigenous History month. With such a deep-rooted and mostly uncovered past, Indigenous history is intertwined with the very existence of Canada, the country we know it as today. For more information or to learn more about Indigenous history in Canada, we recommend these resources. In honour of this month, we would like to bring a current issue to light as it relates to Indigenous history. You may know about the Wet’suwet’en protests regarding the 22,000 sq. km worth of land in British Columbia that is owned by First Nations clans. This land was never conquered or given up by treaty and according to the Canadian Constitution, section 35, the government of Canada acknowledges that all Indigenous lands rightfully belong to the Indigenous people. Regardless of this, Coastal GasLink was still looking to pursue a multi-billion dollar pipeline project on this land even though we are amidst a pandemic. These circumstances do not nullify Indigenous rights under the Canadian law and if anything, vulnerable populations should be better taken care of, not taken advantage of, during this time.
Fortunately, on February 29, 2020 an MOU was signed between Canada and Wet’suwet’en recognizing the Wet’suwet’en title to the land. We must remember that this is only one step of the journey and that we should continue to dedicate ourselves to being proactive when discussing Indigenous history and rights.

Click here to read an article written by our Executive Director, Wendy Sturgeon, about the significance of National Indigenous History month and what it means. Click here to download.

Click here to read Wendy’s thoughts on the relationship between Indigenous people and the police force (via Richard Hutton of Niagara This Week).


National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21)

June 21 is known as National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day meant to recognize and honour the heritage, culture and valuable contributions made to society by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Another step in recognizing these contributions is considered to be through reconciliation – sometimes thought of as wreckonciliation. Before we take a look at this, first we must consider: what is conciliation? Has this even taken place for Indigenous Peoples to consider reconciliation? The answer is no, the government has not done enough to begin with to consider reconciliation. Although steps have been taken in the right direction there is a long way to go to truly honour and celebrate Indigenous history, culture and contributions in today’s society. This must not be forgotten or ignored but rather highlighted with this day. Click here to learn about issues disproportionately faced by Indigenous communities, or click here to learn how you can help.

In the past, National Indigenous Peoples Day has been celebrated by gathering together to enjoy song and dance and share in the rich cultures of our people. This year, we encourage you to find ways to celebrate virtually such as these ideas here (1) (2) (3), or register for a virtual speaker series. Most events will not be running publicly and if there are local events running near you, we advise you to stay safe and remember to practice social distancing.

Full Strawberry Moon

June 5 at 3:12pm (EST) will mark the Full Strawberry Moon. This name originates from Indigenous background as it is a way to keep track of different seasons by naming each month according to its full moon. In June, the Full Strawberry Moon refers to the harvesting time for strawberries. Click here for a strawberry teaching and a family-friendly recipe!

Strawberry Moon eclipse in Toronto. – RepublicWorld



From ONWA’s Community Development Portfolio:

  1. Check out June 2020 Indigenous Reading List from the City of Thunder Bay’s Indigenous Relations and Inclusion office in collaboration with Confederation College Library and Thunder Bay Public Library. Read more:


  1. Public Virtual Programming: we have a great line-up of education and entertainment for all to enjoy (co-hosted by Thunder Bay Public Library, Red Sky Productions, National Film Board of Canada).
    1. Fri, Jun 19 @ 2PM Mistatim- In this online performance, Mistatim will trot, gallop & fly across Canada followed by a Social Round Up with the cast. Ideal for children aged -12. REGISTER HERE
    2. Sat, Jun 20 @ 2PM Wisdom Keeper Series- Watch as Senator Murray Sinclair, Lee Maracle, & Sandra Laronde delve into the pandemic and meaning of wisdom in this REDTalk. WATCH HERE
    3. Sun, Jun 21 @ 2PM Ziindaamagat: A Confined Space- Watch performers & cirque artists perform within unbelievable restrictions. Followed by a REDTalk with the cast. REGISTER HERE
    4. Thur, Jun 25 @ 2PM nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up- This award-winning 2019 film follows the family of late Colten Boushie, a young Cree man fatally shot in Saskatchewan, as they demand justice from Canada’s legal system. Followed by a Panel of Special Guests. REGISTER HERE

Also be sure to check out events under the Upcoming page!