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We acknowledge that Sultan Lawyers Workplace Solutions is situated on the original territory and land of many nations, including the territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.

In this article, we discuss National Indigenous Peoples Day to encourage celebration and to open up an opportunity to engage in and learn about First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Canada.

What is this special day and when does it occur?

National Indigenous Peoples Day (Formerly known as National Aboriginal Day) occurs on June 21, 2022. This year, it is the 26th anniversary of the celebration that recognizes First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures. This is a day for all of those who live in Canada to recognize the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples.

June 21st  is also recognized as the summer solstice – the day of maximum daylight (also known as the strawberry moon). The strawberry moon was named to reflect that the strawberry is one of the first fruits that grow in this moon-month. This date holds significant value to Indigenous Peoples, as it marks the first day of summer and is seen as a time that allows people to reflect on everything that has taken placed from the winter solstice to the summer solstice. As being the longest day of the year, it is a further opportunity to give thanks for the elongated time from the sunrises to the sunsetting.

On the day of the summer solstice, this marking of a new season allows us to come together to:

  • Recognize a new day, share gratitude, and give thanks for the sun rising again
  • Express gratitude for all that was created before us
  • Acknowledge all the elements for humans to appreciate (water, fire, the land, the moon, the sun etc.)

Events happening in Ontario

There are various nationwide events occurring to commemorate and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. Specifically, The City of Toronto’s annual Sunrise Ceremony, in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday, June 21 at 5:30 a.m.  At the sunrise ceremony, it is a place for all people to gather to share in offering prayers and in giving thanks for all of creation and Mino Baamodziwin (The Good life). It is a time when Mishoomis Giizis (Grandfather Sun) starts to guard us and give light and warmth for the daytime. This ceremony offers the opportunity to observe and engage in various sacred and joyous cultural traditions. Significant natural items used within the ceremony include but are not limited to shells, feathers, strawberries, water, fire, Tobacco, Sweet Grass, Sage and Cedar.

In addition to the Sunrise Ceremony, Ottawa, Ontario, hosts a Summer Solstice Festival. This festival is a multiple-day event that includes the indigenous celebration, markets where indigenous artisans can share and market their creations, creative workshops, a traditional pow wow event, as well as education days to actively learn about indigenous traditions, heritage, and culture. It is acknowledged that the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Algonquin peoples and their descendants.

Why is this day important?

The main purpose of National Indigenous Peoples Day is to celebrate the cultures of indigenous peoples in Canada and to acknowledge the diverse history and traditions. It is also an opportunity for all those living in Canada to learn about the country’s history and to recognize Canada’s diversity.

We at Sultan Lawyers…

We at Sultan Lawyers are committed to continuous learning. We actively host internal education seminars to encourage continued professional development, independent research and expanding our understanding of current issues. As a team, we immerse ourselves in research and host internal educative presentations to share knowledge. Our recent presentation related to indigenous people in the workplace, and how current indigenous issues hinder access to education, employment, and justice. If we can understand the struggles and disparities indigenous people face specifically in the social and employment sector the better, we will better be able to serve indigenous people seeking legal assistance.

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