What you need to know
June is National Indigenous History Month, and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Learn about:
The Governor General of Canada proclaimed June 21 as National Indigenous Peoples Day in 1996, an occasion for Canadians to come together, reflect on and celebrate the unique heritage, traditions, and knowledge of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.
We are deeply grateful for the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations who have continued to inhabit and steward these lands every day since time immemorial.
We are also grateful for the contributions of Urban Indigenous community members, past, present and future, in shaping our city.
Artwork created by Skundaal
This artwork was created by Skundaal, a Haida artist and master carver who also goes by Bernie Williams (Gul-Giit-Jaad; Golden Spruce Woman). She is of St’langng Jaanas/Laanas clan in Haida Gwaii. As a long time Downtown Eastside resident she is a passionate advocate against the discrimination, abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, and exploitation against Aboriginal and 2SLGBTQ+ women and girls.
Join Carnegie Community Centre’s virtual commemoration of Indigenous cultures and the Downtown Eastside, in partnership with UBC Learning Exchange.
This online cultural sharing event will include a welcome from Squamish Chief Bill Williams, performances from Carnegie’s lexwst’i:lem drum group and Children of Takaya dancers, a virtual tour with the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, and artist talks with the Museum of Anthropology.
Event details and instructions on accessing an accompanying online learning kit will be available on Carnegie’s National Indigenous Peoples Day Facebook event External website, opens in new tab.
Flags to honour Host Nations and Indigenous Peoples
From June 18 to 30, we will fly 15 Indigenous flags on City Hall’s flag island at 12th Ave and Cambie St. Flags from the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation will fly next to the City of Vancouver flag, in recognition that we are located on these Nations’ traditional, ancestral and unceded territories.
Additional flags that will fly are:
- Musqueam Indian Band Two-Spirit Flag
- Squamish Nation Pride Flag
- Tsleil-Waututh Nation Rainbow Flag
- Inclusive Pride Flag (Progress Flag)
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Flag
- Every Child Matters Flag
- Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society Flag
- Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council Flag
- Métis Nation Flag
- Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society Flag
- No More Stolen Sisters Flag (original design by Skundaal)
- National Indigenous Peoples Day Flag (original design by Skundaal)
We recognize that discrimination, abuse, and exploitation of Indigenous peoples is over 150 years in the making, and is ongoing.
This year, National Indigenous History Month is dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind and the survivors of residential schools.
Extending our heartfelt condolences and acknowledging the collective grief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation and Indigenous communities across the country, City Hall and Burrard Bridge will be illuminated orange from 9 pm to midnight on June 21, for the children who never returned home. Our staff and leadership grieve alongside our Indigenous colleagues and with Indigenous communities across Canada.
This remains a deeply painful time for residential school survivors and their families. We offer the reminder that the Indian Residential School Survivors Society is available for those that may need counselling or support at 1-800-721-0066. A 24-hour crisis line is also available at 1-866-925-4419.
- Saa’ust Centre, brought to life by the Urban Indigenous Peoples' Advisory Committee's community, is an oasis for families and survivors affected by the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)
- First Nations Health Authority External website, opens in new tab provides culturally safe and trauma-informed cultural, emotional, and mental health services to Indigenous people in BC.
- Kuu-Us Crisis Line Society External website, opens in new tab provides crisis services for Indigenous people across BC. Adults and Elders can call 250-723-4050 for support; youth can call 250-723-2040. A toll-free number is available at 1-800-588-8717.
- At Vancouver Public Library’s Connection to Kith and Kin External website, opens in new tab, experts help Indigenous participants search online records for family documents. Searching can be an emotional experience. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society has provided a Resolution Health Support Worker to join the participants during their journey.
All settlers on this land have a responsibility to understand and address the ongoing impacts of colonization. We encourage residents to learn more about First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities with the following resources:
- Organize a reading group with friends or colleagues to read one of:
- Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada External website, opens in new tab, and understand the 94 Calls to Action External website, opens in new tab
- Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls External website, opens in new tab, which includes 231 individual Calls for Justice for governments, institutions, and all Canadians
- Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside External website, opens in new tab
- Follow Carnegie’s V6Activities YouTube channel External website, opens in new tab to learn Indigenous crafts and listen to stories from elders
- Learn how to pronounce šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn and šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (formerly the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza and the Vancouver Art Gallery north plaza)
- Discover the wealth of distinct Indigenous languages, art, and cultural heritage in BC through the First Peoples’ Map of BC External website, opens in new tab
- Explore resources to learn about the residential school system and its lasting impacts PDF file (113 KB) on Indigenous communities
- Follow Vancouver Public Library (VPL) for events with the Indigenous Storyteller in Residence External website, opens in new tab, Indigenous authors and poets
- VPL has curated an extensive guide to learn about Indigenous peoples in Canada External website, opens in new tab including websites, online reports, recommended books and DVDs, and digital library resources
As a City of Reconciliation, we remain committed to guiding our work with the 94 Calls to Action identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically the calls to action identified in this 2016 Council report PDF file (204 KB), and the 231 Calls to Justice identified by the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.