Indigenous World View

There are many different groups included within the First Nations people of Canada, as well as Metis and Inuit identities. Beliefs and observances within these communities are diverse, and the seasons play an essential role. Because of this, it is difficult to denote the many events and celebrations as specific dates on a calendar.

Examples of celebrations and observances include naming ceremonies, Pow Wows, smudging and traditional hunts and fasts.
Inuit Day

The late Eben Hopson of Barrow, Alaska, founded the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) in 1977 which represents 160,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Chukotka (Russia). To thrive in their homeland, Inuit had the vision to realize they must speak with a united voice on issues of common concern and combine their energies and talents towards protecting and promoting their way of life. In 2006, the ICC was instructed to annually proclaim Nov. 7, the birthdate of Eben Hopson, Sr., as Inuit Day, and to urge all Inuit governments, agencies and communities to annually proclaim this day as Inuit Day, and conduct appropriate ceremonies and celebrations. 

Louis Riel Day

Louis Riel Day is celebrated on Nov. 16, the anniversary of Riel’s execution in 1885. Although Louis Riel Day commemorates one of the great tragedies of Canadian history, it is also a day to celebrate Métis people and culture, and the continuing progress in fulfilling Riel’s dream with the Métis people taking their rightful place within Confederation. Riel fought for the rights of all landowners in Western Canada, including First Nation people, Métis people, and European settlers. He fought for the protection of language rights for both French and English speaking people, and he dreamed of the day when the religious prejudices of Europe would not impact people in what is now Canada. 

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30 marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to explore the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. This day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.  

National Indigenous Peoples Day

This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day was created in 2013 during the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project in Williams Lake, BC. Former First Nations student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told the story of her first day at residential school as a six-year old girl. Her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her. This story prompted many other community members to share their own experiences.

Nationally, Orange Shirt Day is September 30 and is considered important in the residential school experiences of First Nation, Metis and Inuit people, as this was the time when students would be removed from their homes to attend residential school. 

Powley Day

Every year on Sept. 19, Powley Day is celebrated to remember the decade-long struggle for Métis rights that led Steve and Roddy Powley to the Supreme Court of Canada. On this day in 2003, in a unanimous judgement, the Supreme Court declared that Steve and Roddy Powley, as members of the Sault Ste. Marie Métis community, had the Métis right to harvest.