In the midst of Montreal’s hectic summer schedule, National Aboriginal Day, held annually across the country on June 21, sometimes gets overshadowed by bigger, flashier events. But that doesn’t detract from its importance.
“Aboriginal Day is a real celebration of Aboriginal people, but it also gives people the chance to learn about cultures they may know little about,” says Paige Isaac, Coordinator, First Peoples House.
National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed in 1996 by then-Governor General Roméo A. LeBlanc. The goal was to give all Canadians the chance to celebrate and share knowledge about the values, customs, languages and culture of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. June 21 was chosen as the date because it is on or near to summer solstice, a day of cultural importance to many Aboriginal people.
While it may not carry the same political weight in Quebec as events like Canada Day or St. Jean Baptiste Day, Aboriginal Day is a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories.
Isaac notes that although there are no special festivities planned at McGill on June 21, there are plenty of local events happening in and around Montreal. For a complete list of National Aboriginal Day activities across the country, go here.