Is National Indigenous Peoples Day a Public Holiday?
National Indigenous Peoples Day is not a holiday, merely an observance in Canada, according to Holidays 2020. The celebration falls on 21 June every year. Businesses, stores, and shops operate as they normally would throughout the day, as do schools and universities. Public Transportations also follow their customary route. However, it has become a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories since the National Aboriginal Day Act, passed in 2017.
National Indigenous Peoples Day History in Canada
National Indigenous Peoples Day, formerly known as National Aboriginals Day, was officially announced in 1996. However, the commemoration has been called for, for longer than that. The Canadian Constitution officially recognizes three groups of the Aboriginals, namely, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. To celebrate their individual and diverse heritage, unique culture, and remarkable accomplishments, 21 June was chosen as the day.
The reasoning behind this chosen date also stems from the culture of the Indigenous peoples it celebrates. 21 June falls on or near the summer solstice, which has a special significance in most ancient civilizations. The history of National Indigenous Peoples Day began from 1945 when it was first celebrated as Indian Day by the chiefs throughout North America (which is called Turtle Islands by the First Nations people) and Jules Sioui. After that, the next call for a National Aboriginals Day came in the form of the National Indian Brotherhood asking for a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be celebrated in 1945. They quoted the date as 21 June then.
After that, the next tumult came when the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples asked for a National First Peoples Day to be celebrated in 1995. Also, The Sacred Assembly, a conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people asked for a national Aboriginals Day on 21 June. Finally, the bill was passed and the day celebrated in 1996 for the first time. In 2017, the name was officially changed to National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Aboriginal Groups in Canada
National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada celebrates the culture and heritage of the Aboriginal people of the country. These include the First Nations people, as well as the Inuits and Métis. More specifically, these are:
- Peigan Cree
- Nunatamiut (Uummarmiut)
- NunatuKavut people (Labrador Metis or Inuit-metis)
Public Life on National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada
National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada celebrates the heritage, traditions, and culture of the various Aboriginal people of the country. People use this day to connect to their roots and learn more about their customs and history. The public life of Canada on National Indigenous Peoples Day majorly includes learning more about one’s family ancestry, celebrating their contributions in the development of the country, and indulging in activities to celebrate their diversity. Let us take a look at what these events and activities include:
- Traditional feasts
- Summer solstice festivals
- Sacred fire extinguishing ceremonies
- Social gatherings filled with music, dancing, and singing.
- Barbecue fundraisers
The Summer Solstice holds a cultural significance for the various Aboriginal groups across the country. Due to this very reason, they chose this day to be celebrated as their day. Thus, on National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, these people commemorate the day through their age-old traditions surrounding the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.
Barbecue parties and gatherings filled with music and merrymaking, in general, fill the days of young ones. People would get-together on this day to enjoy traditional and modern music, dance and party. In addition to this, many of these gatherings would also include discussions on their cultures and heritage. The elders would take this opportunity to impart knowledge to their descendants. This ensures that the ancient wisdom they have carried for centuries is not lost.
Another method of ensuring that the millenary knowledge is not lost is story-telling. The Elders of the tribe tell such stories to their young on National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. Most of these stories, though word-to-mouth, carry truth and historical facts proven with time. In addition to this, the Canadian government holds competitions to allow the Indigenous youth to come forward and share their tales and knowledge on a national level.
Numerous parades, festivals, parties, and ceremonies are held across the country on National Indigenous Peoples Day to honour these groups. These events outline the Aboriginals history in Canada. The theme of the festival and the celebrations remain essential contributions of these groups to the development of the country and their role in its future.
Reconciliation is a frequent topic of discussion in these places. Also are the treaties between the groups and the government, one standing out as the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
National Indigenous Peoples Day Observances
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1. What contributions of the Aboriginal groups do the National Indigenous Peoples Day honour?
National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada celebrates the contributions of the Aboriginal groups to the country. These begin with the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and include their contributions to the two World Wars and the War of 1812.
2. What makes a person indigenous?
Literally, indigenous means being inhabitants of a place initially, or belonging to such people. Thus, the Indigenous Peoples of Canada are those who were there originally, i.e., the First Nation Peoples, Inuits, and Métis.
3. What can we learn from the Aboriginal People of Canada?
Those celebrated on National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada have an extensive repertoire of wisdom. These include a plethora of unique languages, education systems, invaluable knowledge about sustainable management of natural resources, etc.
Tl;dr For those who only wish to know When is National Indigenous Peoples Day in 2020? The date is 21 June, রবিবার.
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