National Indigenous Peoples Day

What you need to know

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 online for National Indigenous Peoples Day event: Monday, June 21, noon to 2pm

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. 

Attend the event
(passcode: 36009)

Event details and instructions on accessing an accompanying online learning kit will be available on Carnegie’s National Indigenous Peoples Day Facebook event .

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)

Collective mourning for Indigenous children who never returned home

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.

Resources for Indigenous Peoples

How you can listen, learn, act

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:

Our role in the work of reconciliation

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 (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

Find more information about our recent work with Indigenous communities

Support Carnegie Community Centre’s programs programs for Downtown Eastside community members, including Indigenous Peoples in Vancouver