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National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023

Here at ParriagGroup, we gather from across many different areas of the country. Each of us joining the work from the unceded and ancestral homelands of a variety of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit groups. As I write this post, I am personally situated on land that is steeped in the rich and distinct history and practices of the First Nations including the Hatiwendaronk, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe, including the Missisaugas of the Credit First Nation. We would encourage all those reading to familiarize themselves with the land they are occupying and the implications of being guests on someone’s land (unless you are yourself Indigenous and of that land).

June itself is National Indigenous History Month, recognizing the myriad contributions, and histories of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples as well as the ongoing colonial injustices that have been historically and consistently perpetuated against them. Further, it can be seen as an internal celebration of their resiliency and strength.

Beyond the scope of the month itself - today, June 21, is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Falling on the summer solstice, it is the longest day and shortest night of the year. For many, the summer solstice holds poignant spiritual significance, making it a natural time for celebration, connection, and healing.

Today, we honour the contributions and culture of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, who are distinct in their beliefs, wisdom, practices, languages, and lived experiences. The observation and celebration of this day will be distinctive and special for each community.

For those who have the capacity to attend in-person events, local celebrations are taking place all over the country. Check out the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival in Ottawa, the Métis Rendezvous in Kelowna, a variety of activities at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, and so much more.

The opportunities to engage with educational resources and materials are also innumerable. Online spaces may be a good place to start this process of learning and supporting educators, authors, artists, and creators. CBC has highlighted media, focused on spotlighting “Indigenous joy, history, art, and culture”. Additionally, this #IndigenousReads reading list points toward books and poetry written by and about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

For non-Indigenous inhabitants of this land, this month and this day may serve as an opportunity to begin deconstructing colonial ideals, to actively listen, to reflect, and commit to the lifelong journey that is learning and working toward reconciliation.

There is much work to be done and there will always be work to be done. At ParriagGroup, we recognize that colonial violence is a living history rather than a past-tense conversation and we are committed to thoughtfully reflecting on our own positionality within colonial structures. We would encourage all those reading this to do the same and to make space for humble contemplation today and every day.

Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day.

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