Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s celebrated every June 21st, the summer solstice, as a day to recognize and celebrate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures. It’s a day to honour and experience these diverse cultures and to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions of Indigenous peoples of this land.
Even though National Indigenous Peoples Day is not a federal statutory holiday and is described by Ottawa as “a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.” It is still an opportunity for growth and greater understanding.
As a follow up to my popular article “Marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”. I’ve once again compiled a list of resources for you to continue your learning journey by Reading, Listening and Watching. Discover additional resources that share our culture, histories, lands, and languages. Listening to the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples through Podcasts and audio books. Watch Indigenous cinema and documentaries by Indigenous film makers and read stories from Indigenous authors.
Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with a few good books. Goodminds.com has curated some of their best-selling books from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit authors. Books for Preschoolers through to high school. For educators and adults alike.
First Nations 101: Tons of Stuff You Need to Know. By Lynda Gray.
First Nations 101 provides a broad overview of the day-to-day lives of Indigenous people, traditional Indigenous communities, colonial interventions used in an attempt to assimilate Indigenous people into mainstream society, the impacts those interventions had on Indigenous families and communities, and how Indigenous people are working towards holistic health and wellness today. This 2nd edition has over 75 chapters, including new ones on rematriation, water for life, governance ‘options’, Indigenous feminisms, decolonization, (mis)appropriation, Indigenous Knowledge, and how to become a great ally. Lynda Gray is member of the Ts’msyen Nation from Lax Kw’alaams on the Northwest Coast of B.C.
Buffalo Is the New Buffalo. By Chelsea Vowel.
Powerful stories of “Metis futurism” that envision a world without violence, capitalism, or colonization. “Education is the new buffalo” is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?”
Sanaaq – An Inuit Novel. By Mitiarjuk Attasie Nappaaluk.
Sanaaq is an intimate story of an Inuit family negotiating the changes brought into their community by the coming of the qallunaat, the white people, in the mid-nineteenth century. Composed in 48 episodes, it recounts the daily life of Sanaaq, a strong and outspoken young widow, her daughter Qumaq, and their small semi-nomadic community in northern Quebec.
CBC Thunder bay
special National Indigenous Peoples Day broadcast with guest host
Jolene Banning, featuring stories that reflect and celebrate Mino Bimaadiziwin — The Good Life in all its forms for Indigenous people across northwestern Ontario.
Auntie Up! is a celebration of Indigenous women talking about the important s***. Aunties can be counted on to speak their truth without the sugar-coating. They will tell you straight up what you need to know, and they aren’t afraid to mince words. It is an unfiltered conversation into the Indigenous world view — or at least the Auntie world view.
All My Relations
Photographer Matika Wilbur, who is Swinomish and Tulalip, and academic Adrienne Keene, from the Cherokee Nation, discuss what it means to be Indigenous, for the show’s first two seasons. Three years later, they welcomed Desi Small-Rodriguez as co-host, while Keene took a sabbatical to finish writing her book. Recording remotely in Washington, they invite a roster of super-smart and relatable experts to join them on topics like Native American mascots, Indigenous food and feeding the spirit, sexuality, and whether DNA test results should be linked to identity.
Telling Our Twisted Histories
Host Kaniehti:io Horn takes stories told about Indigenous people and instead gives the microphone to more than 70 Indigenous people from 15 Indigenous communities to clear up misconceptions stemming from English words that describe us.
This is #SevenTruths, a podcast series that explores the Seven Grandfather Teachings told through our stories, events that shape us and this land. I am beyond proud of the community effort to bring this seven-part series to light.
The Inconvenient Indian
A Curious Account of Native People in North America. The Inconvenient Indian is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history – in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.
Richard Wagamese Selected – What Comes from Spirit
A new curated collection of Richard Wagamese’s short writings.
Richard Wagamese, one of Canada’s most celebrated Indigenous authors and storytellers, was a writer of breathtaking honesty and inspiration. Always striving to be a better, stronger person, Wagamese shared his journey through writing, encouraging others to do the same.
In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman’s relentless errors.
Louise Erdrich’s latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading “with murderous attention”, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.
Peace River Rising (Runtime: 9:36)
Helen Knott, a Dane-Zaa/Nehiyaw social worker, poet, and activist, explores the connection between violence against Indigenous women and violence against the land.
Peace River Rising offers an intimate view of the connection between violence against Indigenous women and violence against the land.
In this short documentary, we see Fort St. John, B.C. and the breathtaking surroundings of the Peace River region through the eyes of Helen Knott, a Dane-Zaa/Nehiyaw social worker, poet and activist.
Tshiuetin (Runtime: 10:57)
Climb aboard one of Canada’s only First Nations-owned railways for a breathtaking train journey through Northern Quebec and Labrador. The Tshiuetin line, the first railroad in North America owned and operated by First Nations people, is a symbol of reclamation and defiance for the communities it serves
2022 Spotlight Films: Celebrating Indigenous Voices
This year we are delighted to be presenting our Spotlight in association with imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. The Spotlight focuses on Indigenous-made cinema by filmmakers from many diverse nations across Canada. These films reflect a broad spectrum of stories and voices and span genres including dramas, comedies, documentaries, coming-of-age stories, horror, and science fiction.
Indigenous Cinema (2020-2022)
Discover the NFB’s rich online collection of Indigenous-made films.
As always, I encourage you to go out and experience Indigenous culture firsthand. There are many events happening throughout this country today. Expand your knowledge base and bear witness to the beauty and wisdom of our culture. I hope this inspires you to share these resources with your family, friends, and colleagues.
Mark Rutledge, CDP
Design Professionals of Canada