National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21

Westfield's Conservation Area will be open on Sunday, and while we are not hosting our usual Father's Day activities, you can come  for a hike on the trails or walk on the Village grounds. Visitors can see the outside of the historic buildings, but not go inside them. Our picnic area is open as well as the washrooms. Admission is $15.00 per car load or use your Hamilton Conservation Authority Membership for touchless entry.

We also would like to recognize National Indigenous Peoples Day which is celebrated in Canada each year on June 21. This is an official day to recognize and honour the culture, heritage and valuable contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

While this day now seems to many an obvious, and in many ways, modest way to recognize the contributions of the Indigenous Peoples of our country, the creation of an official day of recognition took many years to come to fruition. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) first proposed a national “Aboriginal Solidarity Day.”  It would be another eight years before Quebec became the first province to set aside June 21 as a day to celebrate Indigenous culture.  The summer solstice holds important symbolism for many Indigenous cultures and this date seemed particularly fitting.  Calls for a national day of recognition were renewed in the mid-90s.   In 1996, a meeting of Indigenous and non-Indigenous spiritual leaders, known as The Sacred Assembly, encouraged the federal government to establish “National First People’s Day” as a day of unity and acknowledgement. In that same year, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples made a similar recommendation. Finally, on June 13, 1996, these and similar efforts would culminate in Governor General Romeo LeBlanc’s announcement that Canada would celebrate its first National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 1996.

In 2009, Parliament declared the month of June “National Aboriginal History Month” (now Indigenous History Month) to highlight Indigenous histories, cultures and contemporary issues. In 2017, National Aboriginal Day was renamed “National Indigenous Peoples Day,” reflecting a national and international preference for the term Indigenous.  There is growing support for a national statutory holiday and for the creation of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.