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Celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day


Canada is a beautiful, multicultural country and on June 21, 2021, we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day to recognize and appreciate the diverse cultures, heritages, languages, spirituality, health and healing practices, knowledge, resiliency, strengths, activism, and achievements of our First Nation, Inuit and Métis Indigenous people.

Indigenous people are the First Peoples in Canada and they are triumphing over many injustices, using their voice to advocate for their rights, land, equality, systematic change and inclusion. In 1996 Aboriginal/Indigenous People and the Canadian Government added National Aboriginal Day to start the Celebrate Canada days. Some people continue to refer to themselves as Aboriginal People, but in 2017 the name was changed to National Indigenous People’s Day. Aboriginal/Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people celebrate and show gratitude for Indigenous people.


National Indigenous Peoples Day is important to me. I am an Indigenous, Inuit woman from the Nunatsiavut (Our Beautiful Land) government, in Newfoundland Labrador. To me, this day is important because I am celebrating my fellow Indigenous relations and it matters as I have a human heart connection to other Indigenous people across Canada. I want to help, teach, share, and advocate so I ask you to join me in celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people alike want to learn, change, and include Indigenous people’s values, perspectives, and knowledge. PMI’s Toronto Chapter’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee is improving diversity and inclusion initiatives and I have had the opportunity to volunteer as the Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion lead. I participated in giving recommendations for making strategic efforts to include Indigenous people, build relationships, teach members about Indigenous ways of knowing, achievements and to encourage more participation from Indigenous Project Managers.

Many celebrations are planned to commemorate this day and I encourage you to take part. Some other organizations throughout Canada that are recognizing and celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day including:

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Eastern Health is hosting a virtual panel titled “Celebrating Indigenous Peoples and Making Changes in Relationships.” Indigenous leaders share their culture and health ways of knowing and sharing suggestions to improve Indigenous patient care.

The First Light Friendship Center will be celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day with an in-person event called The Sunrise Ceremony, and there will be a Community Feast where meals will be shared. There are also virtual events offered such as showcases and Inuit games that will be offered through the First Light Facebook page.

Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Zoo has First Nations Steward, Sandy Taylor providing Indigenous storytelling and inviting Indigenous members for complimentary admission on June 21 and June 22.

Toronto Inuit Association is providing online celebrations where Inuit artists, storytellers, and elders will be sharing and teaching about “Inuit and our Relationship with Seal.”

Personally, I will be celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day by participating in the Sunrise ceremony, joining in prayers, having heartfelt conversations with fellow Indigenous family and friends, having a feast and ultimately trying to live the good life on National Indigenous Day and every day.


How are you celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day? Will you be participating in some of the virtual and/or in-person events, learning more about Indigenous people and/or thinking of ways to connect and support Indigenous people?

Please join in your local celebration.


Thank you


Mary-Ann Spearing

Inuit, Helper, Advocate, Project Manager and PMI Indigenous Diversity and Inclusion Lead


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