Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

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On June 21, celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis during National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Art by Janine Lott
Art by Syilx artist Janine Lott available at the Kelowna Visitor Centre

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous Tourism BC (“ITBC”) is encouraging communities across British Columbia to get creative with this year’s celebrations. Due to ongoing travel restrictions and limitations on social gatherings due to COVID-19, ITBC is celebrating online throughout this month and a signature experience on June 21, 2020.

Kiixin Tour Guide Wisqii
Kiixin Tour guide Wisqii leading our group through the rainforest

National Indigenous History Month was first instituted in June 2009, as a way to educate, connect and promote reconciliation in Canada. National Indigenous Peoples Day was declared in 1996, with the date of June 21 chosen to coincide with the summer solstice and the start of berry-picking and fishing season.

Get the Indigenous Tourism BC app
Get the Indigenous Tourism BC app

Both holidays invite Canadian residents not only to celebrate Indigenous culture, but also to reflect on the rich history of Indigenous peoples in BC.

For the past seven years, ITBC has hosted the Indigenous Cultural Festival in Victoria to honour BC’s 200-plus First Nations with a weekend dedicated to lively performances, engaging tours and traditional artisan goods. This year’s event has been cancelled to respect requirements for physical distancing; instead, ITBC has compiled a series of actions outlining how the public can safely pay homage to Indigenous peoples throughout the month. These include:

  • Honour physical distancing requirements in Indigenous communities. Follow local travel recommendations to protect Indigenous elders, children, resources and lands.
  • Add Indigenous tourism experiences in BC to your travel plans. Download the Indigenous Tourism BC app to find local tourism operators. Include Indigenous tourism in your travel plans.
  • Connection to Land, People and Culture. Commit to learning about the land where you live! Start with a virtual tour with Candace Campo from Talaysay Tours.
  • Support Indigenous digital economies. Resourceful entrepreneurs are now serving patrons through online orders, delivery service and virtual events. Shop online for Indigenous fashion, food, wine and art to show your support for Indigenous lands, cultures and businesses.
Kekuli Cafe Bannock
Bannock from Kekuli Cafe
  • Join a virtual gathering. Summer events might be cancelled, but virtual gatherings are going strong! Online conference and streaming tools make it easy to attend virtual powwows and drum sessions, and new means of connection are emerging daily. Follow ITBC’s social media channels to stay in-the-know about upcoming virtual celebrations.
  • Explore educational tools. Set aside time to learn about the historic keepers of our land – one suggestion is First Voices, which offers interactive language learning tools. You can also enhance your child’s homeschooling with resources that explore Indigenous perspectives on contemporary curriculum content. 
  • Browse Indigenous culture. Whether literature, film, music or artwork, Indigenous culture is rich with stories told by local artists. Browse online collections hosted by museums in BC, check #IndigenousReads for recommendations of captivating books, and search free collections of Indigenous film

Whether buying arts and crafts, visiting tourism businesses that are open and accepting guests, or following ITBC on social media to enjoy celebratory content throughout June, there are plenty of ways you can dive into the enthralling history, culture and storytelling of BC’s diverse First Nations.

Ktunaxa Language Shirts
The endangered Ktunaxa language. Shirts for sale at St Eugene Resort in Cranbrook


Tune into this event in Vancouver: The Carnegie Community Centre Celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day, live online from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. Join for an ancestral land acknowledgement with Elder Carleen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, live stream performances – including Carnegie’s own lexwst’í:lem Drum Group, a virtual tour of the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, a virtual smudge & storytelling with Carnegie Elder in Residence Les Nelson and Museum of Anthropology Indigenous artist talks and more.

Live from the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, tune into a virtual drumming circle or workshop on art and reconciliation.

There will also be free admission at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver on June 21st.

Follow Indigenous Tourism BC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more inspiration.


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