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4 ways to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day

In Canada, June is National Indigenous History Month, and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day.

These occasions offer Canadians of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn about the unique cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, and to honour their stories, achievements and resilience. Nova Scotia is in Mi’kma’ki, the unsceded traditional and ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaq. Here, we see National Indigenous Peoples Day as a time to recognize the contributions and traditions of the Mi’kmaq. Here are some ways to mark the day.

Attend a community celebration
Indigenous communities across the province will be hosting celebrations for National Indigenous Peoples Day. Attending one of these events is a great way to learn about and support the Mi’kmaw community near your home.

If you live near Potlotek/Chapel Island First Nation (Richmond County, Cape Breton), Millbrook First Nation (Millbrook), I’sitkuk/Bear River First Nation (Kejimikujik National Park) or the Kespu’kwitk Metis Council (Yarmouth), be sure to check out what those local groups have organized to mark the day. If you’re in the Halifax area, swing by Mic Mac Mall on Friday, June 21 to peruse the offerings at an Indigenous craft fair organized by the city’s Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.

Do some reading
Halifax Public Libraries has prepared thematic online reading series containing information about each of the themes of this year’s National Indigenous History Month. The library also prepared a reading list that explores the intersection of Indigenous and 2SLGBTQI+ people. Check it out. If your audience is a bit younger, the CBC has compiled a list of 21 books for children and young adults by Indigenous authors. And, of course, it’s never too late to read up on the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Expand your vocabulary
Check out the interactive Mi’kmaw Place Names map or the Mi’kmaq Online Dictionary for a fun way to build your Mi’kmaw vocabulary. Need to start a bit smaller? Follow Treaty Education Nova Scotia on Facebook and add fun, interesting and informative posts about Mi’kmaw history, culture and modern-day special events to your feed.

Enjoy a taste of Mi’kma’ki
No celebration is complete without a special meal, and on National Indigenous Peoples Day, why not try a traditional Mi’kmaw dish? Luskini’kin, or bannock, is a traditional treat with many uses; if you’d like to do something experimental, look for the book Mitji – Let’s Eat!, a collection of Mi’kmaw recipes, at your local library or book store.

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