Ways to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in-person this year

·3 min read
Danny Paul from Membertou First Nation, seen smudging and offering lessons to the crowd that attended the salmon ceremony in 2021. (submitted by Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources - image credit)
Danny Paul from Membertou First Nation, seen smudging and offering lessons to the crowd that attended the salmon ceremony in 2021. (submitted by Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources - image credit)

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations are happening across Canada and here are some that caught our eye:

Cape Breton

The Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) in Unama'ki (Cape Breton) is holding a salmon ceremony to honour the relationship Mi'kmaq have with the fish. The event at the Margaree River near the Margaree Fish Hatchery is open to the public and scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The salmon ceremony started as a way to honour the fish for sustaining the Mi'kmaq through the years and remind harvesters of their spiritual responsibility to the salmon.

"We are grateful to be able to come together with our community members and partners to honour our relationship with salmon and celebrate our Mi'kmaq culture," Lisa Young, executive director of UINR, said in an email to CBC News.

"To our Mi'kmaq people who have kept our culture alive and well, I'd like to say Wela'lioq. Because of you, the heart of Mi'kma'ki beats strong."

The salmon ceremony started in 2019 in partnership with the Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management program. Each year, UINR selects a new waterway the plamu (salmon) travel. Attendees can expect storytelling from an elder and smudging.


The Toronto Stock Exchange will be marking the day by unveiling a permanent installation from Kathryn Corbiere, an Ojibway artist. The event will run from 3 to 4:15 p.m.

The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund is hosting 1,000 students at the Scotiabank Arena as part of an educational opportunity.

"It's a really significant day, so we wanted to mark it in a way where we could really celebrate and recognize Indigenous people and really ensure there was learning happening as well," said Angela Reid, director of development and marketing for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

Submitted by Tanya Powell
Submitted by Tanya Powell

Swan River, Man. 

The Elbert Chartrand Friendship Centre in Swan River, Man., 486 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, will mark the day with a sunrise ceremony around 5 a.m. Tanya Powell, housing co-ordinator for the centre, said all are welcome to the ceremony but they ask women to be in skirts. A pancake breakfast will follow.

"I think we all should recognize the importance of Indigenous people in our country," said Powell.

In the evening, a showcase of traditional dances and culture will take place and a meal of stew and bannock. Powell said if weather permits, bannock on a stick may happen, too.

Submitted by Debbie Young
Submitted by Debbie Young


The North Slave Métis Alliance will hold its annual fish fry. The food is free and they serve whitefish, corn, beans, and bannock along with a stage show from noon to 5 p.m. Joanne Taylor, the NSMA administrative assistant, said there will also be a cultural vendors market.

"The lineups are long, so come early," said Taylor.

submitted by Debbie Young
submitted by Debbie Young


In N.B., the Wolastoqey Tribal Council will be holding a celebration at the legislative assembly in Fredericton, starting at 11 a.m.

Kahnawake, Que.

Kahnawake, south of Montreal, will have an Indigenous block party from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Kahnawake Sports Complex.

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