With thanks to Crista Renner for sharing this information

Today, June 21st, 2021 is the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day. It was a day created to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. 

  • There are more than 630 First Nation communities in Canada, which represent more than 50 Nations and 50 Indigenous languages.
  • Many Inuit in Canada live in about 51 communities across the northern regions, in Inuit Nunangat, which means "the place where Inuit live."
  • Métis are a culturally distinct nation of people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry. Almost 600,000 people in Canada identify as Métis, and they represent approximately 35 percent of the total Indigenous population and 1.5% of the Canadian population. 

After the discovery of 215 children in unmarked graves in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation (and numerous sites since then), the regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, Terry Teegee, is calling for a day of mourning and quiet contemplation. 

Please consider exploring these child-friendly resources with your family, check out Moccasin Identifier or support the Save the Evidence Campaign with a virtual tour of a residential school. 

Personally, I carry in my heart the story of Beverly and Tammy - two young Indigenous girls I went to elementary school with. They came to school one day and told us their brothers were taken away. I was a confused 11-year-old, who didn’t understand how someone’s brother could just be taken away. It would take another 20 years to figure out what had happened, when I learned about residential schools. The provincial government has promised $10 million in funding for the identification of burial sites at residential schools in Ontario. This is a step in the right direction but we have a long way to go to fight this systemic racism.