Celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day across NL

Our province once observed a day called ‘Discovery Day’ on the Monday nearest to June 24 in commemoration of the arrival of John Cabot to the island of Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland).

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on all provincial governments in its Final Report to acknowledge the problematic nature of this narrative of ‘discovery’ in relation to Indigenous Peoples. The holiday has since been renamed ‘June Day.’

National Indigenous People’s Day (NIPD) falls close to the June holiday, on Friday, June 21. However, since the province has not yet declared June 21 a holiday, the City has instead chosen to recognize NIPD as an observed holiday on June 24th.

National Indigenous People's Day is a day to celebrate and recognize the heritage, history, and resilience of Indigenous Peoples. This Friday, numerous events will be held across the province highlighting Indigenous voices and narratives.

What events will be held in your community?

St. John’s

In St. John’s, The Rooms will have free admission all day, with events held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Events will include a screening of the first episode in Jessica Brown’s documentary series titled ‘Here to Stay,' as well as a performance by Kilautiup Songuning-Strength of the Drum at noon.

First Light, a community-based non-profit, is also holding events all week. On Friday, they will be hosting a Sunrise Ceremony at Bannerman Park at 6 am, followed by a light breakfast at 42 Bannerman Street.

From 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. there will be various activities at Bannerman Park ranging from Inuit food and games, to Pow wow dancing and more.


In Stephenville, events on June 21 will begin with a Sunrise Ceremony at 5:30 a.m., followed by a day full of activities and celebrations leading up to the unveiling of a new cultural space on 89-99 Minnesota Drive at 5 p.m.

The day will end with a Moon Ceremony at Port Harmon Anchor at 8 p.m.

Corner Brook

In Corner Brook, there will be a Sunrise Ceremony at 6 a.m. hosted by the Qalipu Nation on the Majestic Lawn.

The ceremony will be followed by a mix of different activities at 9 a.m. including, a grab-and-go breakfast, a sharing of songs hosted by the Corner Brook Aboriginal Women’s Association (CBAWA), and some games for kids.

Grand Falls-Windsor

In Grand Falls-Windsor, a community breakfast will be held at 9 a.m. in the Qalipu community room at 28 Hardy Avenue.

The grand opening of ‘Ni’ A’tugwaqan My Story: Mi’kmaq Knowledge Keeper Maire Eastman,’ an art exhibit featuring Knowledge Keeper Marie Eastman in collaboration with Artist Jennifer Young, will also take place on Friday at 2 p.m. at the Arts and Culture Centre Gallery, on the 2nd floor.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay

In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the Labrador Friendship Centre will be hosting events throughout the day at Kinsmen’s Park. At 3 p.m., there will be an opening prayer led by Innu rock singer and songwriter David Penashue.

The prayer will be followed by an array of performances including, drum dancers and a fashion show.

Anasophie Vallee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram