Celebrate Canadas first peoples at these National Aboriginal Day events

National Aboriginal Day celebrates the heritage, diverse cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada on.


National Aboriginal Day celebrates the heritage, diverse cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada on June 21. More than 100 events are planned across the country this year, with the majority of them taking place in Ontario. In Toronto, dozens of celebrations are planned in the week leading up to National Aboriginal Day, with an official sunrise ceremony and flag-raising taking place outside City Hall on June 21.

Indigenous Arts Festival

Enjoy music, dance, theatre, storytelling, crafts and food created by Indigenous artists at the Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York National Historic Site from June 16 to 19. Presented by Fort York and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the festival also includes a panel discussion on truth and reconciliation, and a traditional pow wow (see below). Free admission on June 16 and 18, and $5 adult admission on June 17 and 19. See listing for more details.

In This Together

As part of the Indigenous Arts Festival, this free panel discussion on June 16 at Fort Yorks Blue Barracks focuses on truth and reconciliation through the lens of indigenous and non-indigenous contributors from across Canada. Fifteen personal stories confront Canadas colonial past and present, and invokes a call to action to move forward in the spirit of reconciliation and anti-racism. Panellists include Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation Chief Stacey Laforme, Daniel Metcalfe-Chanail, Carleigh Baker and Erika Lukert. See listing for more details.

Indian Giver

The Setsune Indigenous Fashion Incubator presents a panel discussion in conjunction with its Indian Giver exhibition at Gallery 1313 on June 18. Moderated by Denise Bolduc with a panel of artists featured in the exhibition, the discussion focuses on cultural appropriation as it relates to fashion, textiles and wearable art. The panel discussion is free to attend and the exhibition runs until June 19. See listing for more details.

Na-Me-Res Traditional Outdoor Pow Wow

Partake in a day-long traditional pow wow hosted by the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation at Fort York on June 18. The event starts early with a sunrise ceremony at 6 am followed by craft making, a grand pow wow procession at 12 pm and a community feast from 5 to 6 pm. As the sun sets, enjoy live music and dance performances by the NDN Way, Great Lakes Project, Indian City and Derek Miller. See listing for more details.

National Aboriginal Day Sunrise Ceremony and Flag Raising

Aboriginal Elder Cat Criger from the Cayuga First Nation leads a sunrise ceremony and flag raising at the City Hall Podium roof on June 21 from 5:30 to 7 am. The traditional ceremony is open to all and free to attend. See listing for more details.

Aboriginal History Month Celebration

Gather at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 23 for a free Aboriginal History Month celebration from 12 to 8 pm. Sponsored by the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, the event includes performances by Logan Staats, Blackstone, Toronto Metis Jiggers and more, as well as kids activities, community agencies arts and crafts vendors. See listing for more details.

michelled@nowtoronto.com | @michdas

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