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Understand the History of the National Indigenous Peoples Day

Today, June 21st, the summer solstice ushers in National Indigenous Peoples Day, where people are provided with the opportunity to celebrate the distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual benefits of Indigenous communities across Canada.

So how did we get here?

National Aboriginal Day, now National Indigenous Peoples Day, was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, through the Proclamation Declaring June 21 of Each Year as National Aboriginal Day. This was the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups:

  • It was first self-declared Indian Day in 1945, by Jules Sioui and chiefs from across Turtle Island (North America)

  • In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now the Assembly of First Nations, called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day

  • In 1995, the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Peoples. That same year, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day

  • The day was first celebrated in 1996, 51 years after the self-declared Indian Day.

On 21 June 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement pledging to rename the event National Indigenous Peoples Day. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde supported the proposed change and called it an "important step," citing the terminology used in the landmark United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Today, as we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, I am filled with a deep sense of pride and hope. Witnessing the steps being taken towards reconciliation and being a part of this journey is profoundly fulfilling. Each story shared, every truth acknowledged, brings us closer to understanding our shared history through an Indigenous lens,” said Ryan Deneault, CEO of Healing Between Worlds. “While I am heartened by the progress we've made, I am also reminded of the long road ahead. There is so much more to do, and I am committed to supporting individuals and organizations as they take their first crucial steps toward true understanding and healing. Together, we can continue to build a future that honours the spirit of reconciliation and respects the rights of all Indigenous peoples. We heal when we walk together.”

Healing Between Worlds would like to take the time to thank all these amazing businesses within our community that are on the journey of understanding the truth of our past:

  • Abbott Wealth Management

  • Amplify Consulting

  • ASK Wellness Society

  • Calgary Board of Education’s Christine Meikle School

  • Canadian Mental Health Associations Genesis House

  • Community Futures

  • Grasslands Organics Strawberry Hill GP LTD

  • Interior Health

  • Prince George Brain Injury Group

  • The City of Kamloops

  • The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce

A foundation of truth is the starting point towards reconciliation.

We at Healing Between Worlds invite you to learn more about what taking this first step could look like. For more information, visit our website:



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