How to connect with Canada’s history



National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about Indigenous peoples, their history and their contributions to Canadian culture and society, and to build upon existing relationships on our collective journey towards reconciliation.

This June 21 marks the second time we will commemorate this important day with a new name, as it was previously known as National Aboriginal Day. Here are some ways you can participate:

Attend a local event. There are many celebratory and ceremonial events happening across the country, in both rural and urban areas. Go with friends or family and check out festivals, music, dancing and other festivities near you. Feel that something is missing? Consider organizing an event and check out the government of Canada’s National Indigenous Peoples Day page for ideas.

Learn more about Indigenous peoples. Did you know about the significant contributions of Indigenous peoples throughout Canada’s military history? Indigenous people continue to contribute today in politics, science and social activism by paving the way forward on important issues such as clean water, climate change and government accountability. Head online or visit a library to find out more information and how you can help.

Engage in Indigenous arts. Many galleries and museums are featuring Indigenous art, so chances are one near you has some interesting pieces to view. Also, add to your bookshelf by reading works by Indigenous authors – check out the CBC list of 108 Indigenous authors and the Indigenous Reads campaign to find some great recommendations. Watch Indigenous films for free on the National Film Board’s website or attend local screenings of films such as Indian Horse. Support Indigenous musicians and performers by seeing plays by Indigenous theatre companies or going to a concert. Engaging with contemporary and historical artwork, literature, film, theatre and music is a great way to learn more about the culture, diversity and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Enjoy some delicious treats. One of the most enjoyable windows into a culture is through their cuisine. Try some traditional foods at a local event or Indigenous restaurant, or experiment with a recipe in your own kitchen! Find some tasty food recipes online from Indigenous food blogs and websites or go to your local library or bookstore and find an Indigenous cookbook, such as Where People Feast: An Indigenous People’s Cookbook by Dolly Watts and Annie Watts, or Andrew George Jr.’s A Feast for All Seasons: Traditional Native Peoples’ Cuisine.        

Telling our Indigenous stories


Five years ago Centennial College led the development of the Indigenous Studies: First Peoples in Canada stackable credential program, which gives students an opportunity to earn an additional credential in Indigenous studies simultaneously with their diploma.

As a component of this programming, the college developed an Indigenous studies e-textbook entitled Our Stories: First Peoples in Canada. The text endeavours to tell the truth about the time before European settlers, the truth about the experiences of Indigenous communities, clans and Nations, and the truth about the impacts of colonization and the journey of reconciliation on Turtle Island – the name many Indigenous peoples ascribe to North America. The stories that informed the e-textbook were gifted to Centennial by citizens of various Nations and members of Indigenous communities. 

The text assembled more than 30 interviews from Indigenous community members, who shared their personal stories. The generous contributions of Centennial faculty, staff, students and the many Indigenous community members provided a strong collaborative foundation for the project.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ambassador Len Fortune edited the content. The college’s own students worked on video editing, photography and graphics for the online text. Renowned Indigenous artists Chief Lady Bird and Aura designed the colourful cover art. 

The educational resource is freely available to anyone who is interested in hearing truth through storytelling and can be accessed electronically through iBooks on Apple devices, ePub on PC and Android devices, and in PDF format.                                                                             

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