National Indigenous History Month Celebrations
National Indigenous History Month celebrations
June is National Indigenous History Month, and June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, or Solidarity Day. Indigenous groups celebrate this time of year in various ways.
Métis - Rendezvous
“Rendezvous are times for Métis to come together, to celebrate shared culture, and reconnect with traditional Métis way of life.” - Water Rangers Ripple Effect video episode (YouTube)
A rendezvous is a traditional Métis gathering. Events include beading, finger weaving, tin smithing, jigging, and songs and stories around the campfire. Rendezvous feature music, arts, and traditional foods
Anishinaabe nations often hold a pow wow in June or throughout the summer. Pow wows feature dance contests, drum contests, traditional foods, and more. These community and family-oriented events have a wide variety of activities for all ages throughout the day.
The various groups may also hold Solidarity Day events.
Visit the websites of our local treaty partner nations to learn about their celebrations:
Saugeen First Nation (traditionally holds pow wow second weekend in August)
The N’Amerind Friendship Centre in London will also be co-hosting the Indigenous Solidarity Day Pow wow on June 21st. Details can be found on the Atlohsa Family Healing Services website Events page or in the image below:
Haudenosaunee Celebration of the Strawberry
At this time of year, the Haudenosaunee also participate in National Indigenous Peoples Day Pow wows.
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy consists of six Nations: the Mohawk, the Oneidas, the Cayugas, the Senecas, the Onondagas, and the Tuscaroras. Similar to the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee also recognize and celebrate the strawberry as a gift from the Creator. It is part of the cycle of Haudenosaunee festivals to give thanks to the natural world. As the first berry of the season to bloom, the strawberry signifies to other berries and fruits that spring is here. More information can be found on the Celebration of the Strawberry page on the Oneida Nation, New York website.
Strawberry juice is a common way to celebrate the abundance of strawberries. Try this modern version of a “Strawberry Water” recipe:
*1 quart of fresh strawberries
*1 cup of sugar (to taste) or better still, maple syrup, the traditional sweetener
*1/2 gallon of water
Wash and hull the berries, mix by hand and smash the berries with the sweetener and mix together. Thoroughly stir into the pitcher of water to blend. Some people will say to use a blender, and it is possible but it changes the taste and this is NOT the same.
If not consumed right away, cool it off in the fridge.
We got the recipe from the Alqonquin College website, as part of an article titled June is the Month of the Strawberry.
Across Nunavut, Inuit celebrations of National Indigenous Peoples Day will often involve ‘country food’, or traditional Inuit food.
A June 21, 2022 article by Cedric Gallant in the Nunatsiaq News documents how the people of Kuujjuaq, Quebec paraded to the beach where women prepared freshly-cut mattaq, raw beluga whale meat, to share with community members in celebration. Sharing food from hunting with family and community members is part of life for the Inuit throughout the year, but particularly at celebrations.
Here is more information on Inuit Country Food in Canada.
In addition to National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21st is also the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The warmer temperatures and additional hours of daylight allow for a day and night of celebratory activities like traditional drumming, throat singing, dancing, and sharing of traditional Inuit food.