National Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly known as National Aboriginal Day) is celebrated on June 21st as a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories. It is a day to recognize and acknowledge the valuable contribution of Indigenous Peoples to the healthy development of our communities, territory and country. In 2001, members of the 14th Legislative Assembly passed the National Aboriginal Day Act making the Northwest Territories the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize this day as a formal statutory holiday.
June 21 was chosen as the statutory holiday for many reasons-including its cultural significance as the summer solstice, and the fact that it is a day on which many Indigenous groups traditionally celebrate their heritage. This is now a day where Northerners can recognize the contributions of all Indigenous groups. In the NWT, we are particularly proud to honour the Dene, Métis and Inuvialuit, and acknowledge their values, traditions, languages and cultures.
Communities across the NWT celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day by participating in the annual festivities which have grown to include music, dance, artwork, traditional games and traditional foods.
Check with your local band or community office for details on National Indigenous Peoples Day events.