Celebrating National Indigenous History Month and Indigenous Peoples Day

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Melody Charlie

Celebrate this June

In 2009, June was declared National Indigenous History Month. It is a chance for all Canadians to learn more about the cultures and contributions made by the many distinct Indigenous Peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the historic and ongoing challenges for Indigenous communities.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was declared an annual holiday in 1996. It takes place on June 21, a date chosen to coincide with summer solstice and the beginning of a season of berry picking and fishing, powwows and gatherings for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. National Indigenous Peoples Day is a time for non-Indigenous Canadians to come together with Indigenous Peoples, not only in celebration but in deep reflection.

Usually, celebrations across Canada are hosted which include dancing, music, food and festivals to mark the occasion

This year, we respect the travel restrictions and limitations on social gatherings and suggest creative ways to honour more than 200 unique Indigenous communities in British Columbia:

Respect Indigenous community calls for distancing

Many Indigenous communities have set their own guidelines. Follow their local travel recommendations to protect Indigenous Elders, children, resources and lands this summer.

Indigenous communities know best what is needed for the safety and well-being of Indigenous peoples, lands and cultures. Show solidarity by respecting Indigenous law.

Visit Responsibly

Support your Indigenous Tourism BC local economy.

Bring your celebration close to home and dedicate yourself to learning more about the land you live on. Enjoy every leaf and inch of the sky in your area with friends and family. Support Indigenous businesses and tourism operators in the territory you live in. Download the Indigenous Tourism BC app to find local Indigenous Tourism operators and pay a visit to those whose doors are open.

Indigenous Experiences Open in 2020

Support Indigenous digital economies.

Resourceful Indigenous restaurateurs serve their patrons with new menu options, online orders, delivery service, and creative virtual dining events. Shop online for Indigenous fashion, food, wine, and art and show your support for Indigenous artists, business owners, and land keepers. Browse virtual shops for gifts that connect you to the Indigenous lands, cultures, and hosts.

Join a virtual gathering.

With powwows and summer gatherings cancelled, the act of coming together has gone digital. Online conferencing and streaming tools make socially distanced powwows and drum sessions possible, and new strategies to connect and share knowledge emerge daily. Take part in a virtual celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day.

Explore online educational tools.

Spend a day devoted to learning more about the history, culture, and language of the keepers of the land you live on. First Voices offers online language learning tools and mobile apps with a comprehensive collection of greetings and introductory phrases from Indigenous communities around BC. Enhance homeschooling and increase your child’s capacity for cultural understanding and empathy with resources that explore Indigenous perspectives on contemporary curriculum content.

Discover Indigenous art online.

Indigenous literature, film, music, and art are precious resources that relate the knowledge and experience of Indigenous artists. Browse Indigenous collections hosted by museums in BC. Explore #IndigenousReads for recommendations on your next read or search free collections of Indigenous film online.

National Indigenous Peoples Day Events

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting this year's virtual celebration!


We also wish to thank the following partners for their support of the Victoria Indigenous Cultural Festival over the last 7 years.

Royal BC Museum | Destination Greater Victoria | Greater Victoria Harbour Authority | Esquimalt Nation | Songhees Nation | Vancity | Times Colonist | Victoria Ocean Point Resort | University of Victoria | Harbour Air | BC Ferries | Victoria International Marina