We Are All Treaty People

OTC celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

  • Published - 20/06/2023
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is pleased to join those across the country in celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day.

It’s a day not only to celebrate the vibrant culture and contributions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, but also a reminder of the importance of honouring Treaties and working towards full Treaty implementation.

On June 21, it is important to reflect on the history of our country, but also recognize that Indigenous cultures continue to flourish and these need to be celebrated. It’s also important to learn about the differences in beautiful languages, worldviews, and beliefs.

Across the Treaty territories there are events happening to mark the summer solstice and celebrate being Indigenous.

Matriarch's Summit & Healing Gathering

South Saskatchewan River Water Walk

National Indigenous Peoples Day Powwow – North Battleford

National Indigenous Peoples Day - Prince Albert

National Indigenous Peoples Day – Regina

National Indigenous Peoples Day – Saskatoon

National Indigenous Peoples Day – Tisdale

National Indigenous Peoples Day - Yorkton

National Indigenous Peoples Day – Wanuskwein

Montreal Lake Cree Nation Traditional Powwow

For so many years the celebrations of Indigenous Peoples were not allowed, languages were not able to be spoken, powwows and dances banned, and histories were not shared. Having a day like Indigenous Peoples Day starts to undo this harm, but protection for Indigenous languages, cultures, and communities needs to continue year-round.

Here are some films to get you started. (Trigger warning: these videos may be distressing for some. Support is available for anyone affected by residential schools’ intergenerational trauma through The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866 925-4419)

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up

Bones of Crows

Indian Horse

We Were Children

Elementary School films available in one playlist from the National Film Board
Maq and the Spirit of the Woods
(Eight minutes): This animated short tells the story of Maq, a Mi'kmaq boy who realizes his potential with the help of inconspicuous mentors. This video includes an education and study guide.

Vistas: Dancers of the Grass (Two minutes): This short film presents a stunning display of a stop-motion animation as it vividly depicts the majesty of the hoop dance, a tradition symbolizing the unity of all nations. This video includes an education and study guide.

Evan's Drum (14 minutes): An adventurous young boy and his determined mother share a passion for Inuit drum dancing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

High School Titles in another playlist
Now Is the Time
(16 minutes): When internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he carved the first new totem pole on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps easily through history to revisit that day in August 1969, when the entire village of Old Massett gathered to celebrate the event that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit.

Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again (34 minutes): Mary Two-Axe Earley fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement. This video includes an education and study guide.

Red Path (15 minutes): This short documentary tells the story of Tony Chachai, a young Indigenous man in search of his identity. On the verge of becoming a father himself, he becomes increasingly aware of the richness of his heritage and celebrates it by dancing in a powwow. This video includes an education and study guide.

Stories Are in Our Bones (11 minutes): In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph takes her young sons fishing (in La Ronge) with their kokum, a residential school survivor who retains a deep knowledge and memory of the land. The act of reconnecting with their homeland is a cultural and familial healing journey for the boys, who are growing up in the city.

To Wake Up the Nakota Language (Six minutes): “When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,” says 69-year-old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Through the wisdom of his words, Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations. This video includes an education & study guide. You can also watch this video in Nakota rather than English.

Find something, learn, and celebrate today and all year long.