In Canada, June marks both National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a time for learning about and acknowledging Indigenous peoples as the original and continued residents of Canada, while recognizing the contributions of today’s First Nations; Métis and Inuit leaders.
“Celebrating and honouring the history, heritage and culture of the Indigenous peoples in our community has never been more important,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “In a time when we, as a City, continue to mourn the 215 innocent lives lost at a former residential school in in Kamloops, B.C., we have to make a vow as a country to do better. It isn’t enough to focus on Indigenous history, heritage and culture for just one month a year. We have to make a commitment to lifelong, continuous learning.”
From libraries to museums, the City is offering a number of free, virtual activities and information-sharing to help residents continue or kick-start learning more about Mississauga’s Indigenous history.
Activities and Events
What: Film screenings by Indigenous filmmakers and media artists, as part of the Public Art Program’s Art on the Screens at Celebration Square. Remarks from Chief R. Stacey LaForme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation will be shown prior to the start of each program. The Moccasin Identifier Project, a program to promote public awareness of significant cultural historic sites and the ancestral presence of First Nations, Metis and Indigenous Communities, will also be featured at Celebration Square.
Where: Digital media screens on Mississauga Celebration Square
When: National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, June 21 between 2 and 10 p.m.
What: Indigenous Learning Circle led by Traditional Indigenous Elder, Cat Criger
This weekly learning circle explores Indigenous cultures, perspectives and issues. Thoughts and questions of the participants, Indigenous teaching and philosophies will help guide the discussions to facilitate an intercultural dialogue.
Where: Virtual experience. Registration details can be found here: mississaugalibrary.ca/IHM.
When: Weekly starting on Monday, June 21
What: A celebration to honour and learn about the history, culture and heritage of Indigenous people in Canada
All sessions will begin with a virtual smudge ceremony that leads into a teaching followed by sharing reflections and questions.
Where: Virtual experience. Registration details can be found here: mississaugalibrary.ca/IHM
· Tuesday, June 15 – Whose Land Are You On…the Language of Treaties
· Tuesday, June 22 – Indigenous Place and Space and Language: changing culture
· Tuesday, June 29 – Your Connections to Calls to Action
“We continue to grieve alongside the Indigenous members of our community and across the country following the tragic discovery in Kamloops last month,” said Paul Mitcham, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer. “As a City, we are offering ways to take that grief and channel it into useful activities that can help us learn and grow. Nothing can change what has happened but we can certainly work toward a more equitable, fair and balanced city and country.”
In addition to the above activities, a book list is also available through the Mississauga Library featuring books by Indigenous authors. A short video of Elder Cat Criger talking about Indigenous History Month is also available on the Library’s YouTube channel.