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Everything You Need to Know About Indigenous History Month

In June, Canadians “honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada” by celebrating National Indigenous History Month. This celebration offers Canadians the opportunity to recognize and honour Indigenous heritage, as well as the historic contributions that First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities have made towards shaping Canada’s national identity.

This includes highlighting the strength shown by Canada’s First Nations people in light of historical attempts to mute and erase their culture over the years. During this month, we are also called to recognize initiatives that present-day Indigenous communities are undertaking to shape a more inclusive future for Canadians.


This year also marks the 24th anniversary of National Indigenous People’s Day, which is held each year on June 21st.

Given the shift in circumstances this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many ways to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day at home. Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. has compiled an excellent list of activities that can help us to honour and learn more about Indigenous culture in Canada, all while maintaining physical distancing measures.


A question many Canadians ask is: “What does indigenous mean in history?”In the 16th century, European settlers arrived in what would eventually become Canada. At the time, the land was habited by what historians estimate to be between 350,000 and 2,000,000 Indigenous people. Post-Confederation, the number of First Nations people in Canada radically shrunk to a mere 100,000 to 125,000.

Some of the main causes behind this include illness, famine and war — many of which were caused by the impact of European colonization. This was followed by a range of issues including social and racial discrimination, a divisive school system and a gross misunderstanding of Indigenous cultures. Segregation policies and other destructive government laws have also left an indelible stain on Indigenous legacies in Canada.

As Canadians, it is important to ensure that we do not forget the hardships and challenges that our Indigenous communities have faced. At the same time, it is imperative that we shift this conversation towards highlighting the achievements of Indigenous communities in the wake of adversity.


While it is important to think about what Indigenous communities have endured in the past tense, looking to present initiatives also holds equal weight. 

In the last half century, we have seen a significant rise in Indigenous organizations, celebrations and overall constitutional recognition of Indigenous rights across Canada. This includes the drafting of new treaties that aim to respect Indigenous cultures, legal decisions on the federal level and increased economic development for Indigenous homelands.

Alongside expanded legal intervention is the rise of high-profile resistance movements such as Idle No More, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These movements have stirred conversations across Canada and called those across the country to address challenges that Indigenous communities still face today.


Leaders of your organization should work with their team to deliver education about Indigenous history in a way that is inclusive, equitable and empathetic. This may include working to understand Indigenous perspectives of historical accounts, as well as pointing staff members towards literature and resources that cover narratives about First Nations, Métis and Inuit heritage and culture.

It is also highly important to note that doing business in Canada means consulting with Indigenous communities. Whether you are a small business owner, organization, consultant or professional, there are a wide range of benefits involved with heightened awareness of Indigenous cultures, needs and narratives.


By raising awareness of Indigenous history, our team at Global Learning is affirmatively engaged with ensuring that Canadians learn more about both Indigenous history and present-day initiatives. We encourage everyone to continue the conversation about the role in which Indigenous communities play in Canadian culture.To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.


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