National Indigenous History Month - Why it’s important

Background to National Aboriginal History Month

1982: The National Indian Brotherhood (now known as the Assembly of First Nations) called for a creation of a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day on June 21.

1990: The Quebec legislature recognized June 21 as a day to celebrate Aboriginal culture

1995: The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended a day be designated as National First Peoples Day. The Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people chaired by the late Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

1996: Governor General Romeo LeBlanc proclaimed that National Aboriginal Day would be celebrated June 21 each year. "On June 21st, this year and every year, Canada will honour the native peoples who first brought humanity to this great land," said Leblanc. "And may the first peoples of our past always be full and proud partners in our future."

2008: Prime Minister Harper offered the full apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential Schools system.

2009: By unanimous motion in Canada’s House of Commons, the month of June was declared National Aboriginal History Month.

2017: The name to National Indigenous Peoples History Month, reflecting a national and international preference for the term Indigenous, rather than Aboriginal.

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Indigenous Self-Government Clarification

 “Indigenous self-government” is a term that carries some misunderstanding. And as we’re likely to be hearing it about it more frequently as Indigenous nations increasingly move away from the Indian Act, it seems like a good time to provide some clarity on what it is and what it isn’t.

 Click here to download our free eBook that provides an overview of Indigenous self-government

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Four common barriers to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

In 2015, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its six-volume report on residential schools it brought the details, impacts and outcomes of the schools starkly into the spotlight. Canadians were shocked to hear that the federal government enacted policies of cultural genocide as a means to achieve the ultimate goals of separating Indigenous Peoples from their lands and sovereignty. The report presented a harsh contrast to the common perspective of Canada as a benign nation shaped through the foresight of the founding fathers and hard work of settlers. 

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Indigenous language immersion

Indigenous languages the world over are in jeopardy. So much so that the United Nations declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages to raise awareness of the fragility of thousands of Indigenous languages and to underline the enormity of the situation.  

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3 elements for developing reconciliation strategies for businesses

"Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem — it is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us." Senator Murray Sinclair

If Canada is going to heal from the pain and suffering inflicted upon Indigenous Peoples through colonization then we all need to look for ways to contribute to the recovery. If you think of the Indian Act as the wound, then the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) can be thought of as the tourniquet and reconciliation strategies as salve for the scars.

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Indigenous Fire Management and Traditional Knowledge

For the last few summers news reports were dominated by coverage of raging, massive, out-of-control wildfires. The fires devastated some communities, forced others to evacuate, destroyed vast tracts of forest, fields, fauna, and disrupted livelihoods. These massive forest fires consumed phenomenal capital to fight, flee and rebuild in the aftermath.

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Resource Revenue Sharing is Not a New Idea

Canada is renowned for the wealth and diversity of its natural resources and has long relied on royalties from extractive industries to contribute to the gross domestic product.  

“Governments derived $22 billion annually on average from the natural resource sectors during 2012-2016. There are 418 major resource projects under construction or planned over the next 10 years in Canada, worth $585 billion in investment.” [1]

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Making science relevant to Indigenous students

“If only we could understand how students make sense of their natural world, we could design a science curriculum so that science makes sense to all students.“ [1]

Until relatively recently, science educators taught science from the perspective of Western science, and only Western science. Which, when taken in the context of Canadian history, is not surprising given that under the Indian Act education was the tool of assimilation policies designed to alienate Indigenous Peoples from their cultures, traditions, and identities.

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The Evolution of Indigenous Relations in the City of Kamloops

Tammy Robertson, External Relations Manager for the City of Kamloops has an ambitious goal: for the City of Kamloops to become a role model for Indigenous/municipal relations. The relationship between the City and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, over a short period of 18 months, has evolved from one of much uncertainty into one based on mutual trust and respect. They’ve gone from annual community-to-community forums with little outcome to working collaboratively on significant community projects and actively looking for additional opportunities to collaborate on projects.

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The Role of Indigenous Games in Culture

Agility, strength, balance, reflexes, hand-eye coordination, accuracy, strategy, intuition, patience. These are skills Indigenous hunters and fishermen relied on to feed their communities. And those skills were learned at an early age through games and maintained throughout adulthood through play.

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