Celebrating National Indigenous History Month

Jun 10, 2021

June is National Indigenous History Month in Amiskwaciy Waskahikan (also known as Edmonton) and across Canada. This month is a time for education, reflection, and celebration - a time to support the local Indigenous experiences, businesses and entrepreneurs who contribute to the vibrancy of our communities. There are many ways to connect with the history and culture of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples over the coming weeks and beyond.

As you explore, be sure to continue practicing safe physical distancing, frequent handwashing and following the guidelines put in place to keep everyone safe.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. For time immemorial, June 21 has been a celebration of culture and heritage due to its significance as the summer solstice - the longest day of the year.

There are many virtual events celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day including:

Keep your eyes peeled for more events hosted by Métis Crossing, Enoch Cree Nation and the Canadian Native Friendship Centre on social media!
June 21

Talking Rock Tours

Experience the geologic wonders of Alberta, and immerse yourself in the Indigenous stories of the past! Talking Rock Tours provides interactive experiences that reveal the history of the land with a Métis guide and geologist who combines his culture and knowledge of geology. You'll see Edmonton's landscapes in a whole new light!

Wase Saba (Black Bear) Experiences

Take in a part of Indigenous culture through Wase Saba Experiences. Sissy Thiessen is a Treaty 6 Nakota Sioux, Cree & German Indigenous cultural facilitator, Powwow dancer, crafter/beader, spoken word poet and creative writer from Edmonton, Alberta. Book an experience or check out her event calendar to see Sissy in action around Edmonton.

Virtual Experiences at the RAM

On June 16, join Elaine Alexie - the Royal Alberta Museum's Curator of Indigenous Studies and artist behind Shinli’ Niintaih - and Jaymie Campbell of White Otter Design Co, for a virtual "Kitchen Table Talk" conversation about the history and art of beadwork. Click here to register and save your spot!

Want to see more of the Indigenous Studies collection? Curious about beadwork, quillwork, or hide tools? On June 25 you can discover collections by request on the Royal Alberta Museum's Instagram and Twitter accounts. Just let them know what you want to see from the Indigenous Studies collection, and they'll share a photo just for you.
June 16 & 25

River Cree Indigenous Market

The first annual Night Market at the River Cree, presented by Enoch Cree Nation, is almost here! This brand new experience will showcase First Nation & local artisans, vendors, food trucks, and much more. The Night Market is a great opportunity to keep honouring and engaging with Indigenous creators after June has come and gone - more exciting details will be announced soon!
July 15-July 17

Bannock Making & Feast

The C5 Hub invites you and your family to join in a Zoom celebration of learning and culture with Elder, Kokum Rose Wabasca. The first 100 families to register will receive a bannock making kit with all the ingredients needed to make this delicious treat from the comfort of home. Sign-up now to reserve your spot!
June 21

Mother Tongues at Downtown Spark

Mamanaw Pekiskwewina | Mother Tongues: amiskwacîwâskahikan is a collection of public art installations that celebrate the ancestral Indigenous languages of Treaty 6. Take yourself on a self-guided tour to all the different engaging exhibits, located here:

  • Alex Decoteau Park
  • Beaver Hills House Park
  • Latitude 53 - 10242 106 Street
  • Gibson Block - 9608 Jasper Avenue
  • Great West Saddlery Building - 10137 104th Street
  • Tix On the Square - 9930 102 Avenue (two artworks at this location)

April 20-September 18

Visit Elk Island National Park

Traditionally, Indigenous lands covered large areas - specifically, in the Edmonton region Indigenous groups were primarily nomadic, meaning they moved across the land following their food source - the bison. Many Indigenous groups' traditional areas stretch from Edmonton all the way to Elk Island National Park. Pack a picnic and spend the day reflecting in the serene glow of this iconic and historically significant area.

Pro-tip: plan to visit the park mid-week instead of on weekends and holidays to ensure visitors and bison alike have more space to roam!

GO Skateboard Day & Indigenous Peoples Day

Calling all skateboarders! A new mural is coming to the Callingwood Skatepark. Canada Skateboard, mobilize ᐊᐧᐢᑲᐁᐧᐃᐧᐣ waskawewin, and Explore Edmonton are coming together to install a mural application in the bowl of the park which will be unveiled on GO Skateboard Day and Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21). Keep your eyes peeled for more details coming soon!
June 21

Listen to music by local artists

Edmonton is home to world-class talent, and much of it belongs to Indigenous artists. It's easy to make a playlist of local Indigenous musicians to listen to. Juno-nominated artists such as Celeigh Cardinal and Nêhiyawak make Edmonton their home along with some other incredible Indigenous musicians including Jay Gilday, Tammy Lamouche, Geraldine Carriere, Rellik and more.

Check out 89.3 The Raven for a collection of events, award shows, resources and programming supporting Indigenous artists and communities. CFWE Radio also has an event calendar with a thorough listing of world-class programming to discover.

Order an Indigenous Box

Indigenous Box is a subscription service that helps you fall in love with fabulous Indigenous-made products from across Turtle Island! Choose from the seasonal plan (4 boxes per year), buy a single box, or send a box as a gift. Each special package contains a selection of unique items from Indigenous brands, artists and artisans.

Explore iconic landmarks

Edmonton has many Indigenous parks and landmarks that are easy to visit while engaging in physical distancing. Take a self-directed tour with our handy guide curated by Mackenzie Brown. From the Turtle Rock Effigy Labyrinth to River Lot 11 and Beaver Hills House Park, there is so much to explore and experience in and around the city.

Make an Indigenous craft

Get creative this month with the help of Indigenous artisans. Lance Cardinal, owner and operator of Soul Flame Creative Services has been running free weekly Cree craft tutorials on his YouTube channel. Plus, on June 12 you can learn how to make a Star Blanket Sun Catcher - check out the event link for a list of supplies and further details!

Learn how to make moccasins and more through virtual courses from ReSkilled Life. The ReSkilled Life Learning Centre is an online and in person training provider in Alberta’s boreal forest, one hour north of Edmonton.
June 12 & Ongoing

Shop Local

Stop by the I.A.M. Collective at the Downtown Farmers Market every Saturday with unique goods made by local artisans. This group is made up of a community of 42 Indigenous creatives, with members from varying nations across Turtle Island. Additionally, Ôte Nîkân Petro Gas Station has a huge selection of handmade Indigenous work for purchase. So next time you need to gas up, make sure to stop by.

Looking for more retail options? Pop into our Indigenous Shopping Guide for even more ways to buy local and Indigenous this spring.

Cuisine to Savour

The city's incredible Indigenous chefs are creating delicious and inventive food that will have your licking your plate clean. Check out our guide to some of Edmonton's culinary trailblazers and order some tasty snacks to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day!

For more delicious Indigenous cuisine, check out:

At Home Learning

It's easy to learn more about the Indigenous Peoples of Canada from the comfort of your home, and have fun doing it too. The Government of Canada has created an extensive learning and activity guide filled with stories and games that will help you and your family learn more about Indigenous cultures from across the country. You can also check out the University of Alberta's free online course which explores key issues facing Indigenous Peoples today from a historical and critical perspective, highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations.

Alberta Metis Fest

In support of Métis musicians and artisans, Alberta Métis Fest will bring virtual musical showcases for a day filled with toe-tapping good times. Don't miss the jigging or fiddling competitions, the artisan market, door prizes, Métis art and so much more! Mark your calendars for June 26!
June 26

Indigenous Peoples Experience at Fort Edmonton Park

Something new is coming to Fort Edmonton Park! Gather and explore life through the diversity of First Nations' and Métis peoples' histories, experiences, and perspectives, local to Indigenous life in the Beaver Hills region. The stories, music, artwork, and text in the experience come from local Indigenous perspectives and voices, gathered through engagement with local Indigenous communities and research. You don't want to miss this. Opening dates will be announced soon - keep up-to-date on the Fort Edmonton Park website for the latest!

Day-Trip to Metis Crossing

Take a day-trip to Métis Crossing and discover how the Métis lived as trappers, learn about historical families and their homes, understand how plants are used as medicine and much more. Métis Crossing is the first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta, sitting on 512 acres of land designed to engage visitors in immersive experiences. This incredible facility mirrors the core values of the Métis community including self-sufficiency, respect of elders, participation of youth, and cultural pride. Stay tuned for reopening dates as restrictions ease and book your VIP experience in advance here!

But Wait, There's More!

Looking for more celebrations and events around town? Check out the City of Edmonton's Indigenous History Month page for an extensive listing of events, experiences, virtual talks, seminars and more. For additonal year-round Indigenous attractions, peruse our list of Indigenous Experiences in Edmonton curated by Mackenzie Brown. You can participate in Devon Pride Week which recognizes Indigenous Two Spirit Peoples. Alberta Health Services also has a collection of National Indigenous Peoples Celebrations on their website.

Let's keep the celebration going for months to come!

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