7 Ways to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in Northeastern Ontario

Discover amazing ways to celebrate this year—check out these pow wows, glamping domes, hikes, film fests, and more!
Members of the Dokis First Nation in traditional dress at a pow wow.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, a day to celebrate and recognize the diverse cultures, unique heritage and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Here in Northeastern Ontario, there are all kinds of celebrations and interesting activities and events to mark the day. Celebrating is not limited to just one day. June is National Indigenous History Month, and there are many events throughout the month.

Check out 7 of our 2024 Indigenous Peoples Day activities plus ideas on what to do and where to stay nearby.

1. 16th Annual Maamwi Kindaaswin Pow-Wow

June 8 & 9, 2024
Lee Park, North Bay

The annual Maamwi Kindaaswin Pow Wow takes place at Lee Park in North Bay and is a free family event. There are sunrise ceremonies, dancing, music, Indigenous vendors, and a feast on Saturday. Hosted by the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre, Maamwi Kindaaswin translates from Anishinaabemowin as “to learn together” and operates with a spirit of inclusivity and unity, welcoming folks of diverse backgrounds to celebrate together.

What to do nearby: There is lots to see and do in North Bay to celebrate Indigenous ingenuity all year long. The North Bay Museum features exhibits about pre-colonial life for the N’bisiing peoples, including some cool birchbark canoe displays. Check out Ever Cool Ice Cream's food truck beside the museum for some tasty treats. You can explore Nipissing First Nation’s directory to check out Indigenous-owned businesses in the area. Shop for traditional craft supplies at Supplies for the Soul or intricate beadwork and other artisanal crafts at 17HR Convenience, or dine on fresh locally caught pickerel at Jocko Point Fish & Chips.

Bundles of sage in a row. A selection of dream catchers on a table with red and blue feathers. A brown farm style building with a sign that says 17 Hr Convenience.
17 Hr Convenience offers a variety of Indigenous handicrafts and more.

If you’re in the area for a few days, head up to Long Sault Island for a guided canoe tour or traditional craft workshop at Algonquin Canoe Company on traditional Algonquin Territory.

Where to stay: Find cottages and motel accommodation at Mattawa Adventure Camp on the shores of the Upper Ottawa River, or cabins and tent or RV camping at Sid Turcotte Park on the Mattawa River. Le Voyageur Inn offers classic hotel comfort in a historic building. Discover four-season luxury eco-camping at Otter Pointe Resort on Pimisi Bay, or head to the west arm of Lake Nipissing where you’ll find Saenchiur Flechey Resort. Stay right in North Bay at a range of hotels, or indulge in boutique beachfront living at The Finch Beach Resort.

2. Keepers of the Circle 3rd Annual National Indigenous Day Powwow

June 21, 2024
Mill Creek Cultural Grounds, North Cobalt

Held on the Mill Creek Cultural Grounds with a picturesque view of Lake Timiskaming, the 3rd Annual National Indigenous Day Powwow organized by Keepers of the Circle features traditional drumming and dancing, as well as food and craft vendors. Grand Entry is at 10 am, with the closing ceremony at 4 pm.

Keepers of the Circle is an urban Indigenous Hub operated by the Temiskaming Native Women's Support Group, a non-profit organization established in 1997 to support the equality of Indigenous women and the wellness of their families and communities.

What to do nearby: Mani-doo Aja-bikong - Manitou Rock (meaning 'spiritual and fundamental life force' in Algonquian languages; known as Devil’s Rock in English) is a granite escarpment just south of Haileybury, where the cliffs rise 91m above Lake Timiskaming and extend nearly as far underwater. The stunning viewpoint is accessible via two hiking trails; one mostly flat and short, one a little longer and a little more effort. If you arrive by boat, there are five caves to explore!

Where to stay: An hour south of Cobalt, you’ll find Temagami Riverside Lodge, an off-grid, Indigenous-owned, family-friendly fishing lodge. Located on Red Cedar Lake in Marten River, they offer cabins with fully stocked kitchens, hot running water and bathrooms.

Four teal Muskoka chairs on a sandy beach overlooking a blue lake.
 Temagami Riverside Lodge, an off-grid, Indigenous-owned, family-friendly fishing lodge on Cedar Lake.

Other accommodations in the area include Maiden Bay CampMowat Landing Cottages, and Les Suites des Presidents’ Suites.

3. Nibin Giizhigaate-Giizhik (National Indigenous Peoples Day)

June 21, 2024
Nimkii Bineshiinh Kaaning  (Thunderbird Park), Wiikwemkoong First Nation, Manitoulin Island

Wiky Tours presents a full day of events to celebrate on June 21! There’s everything from a lacrosse presentation, magic show and language presentation to a ribbon shirt/skirt fashion show, a community feast, music, fireworks and more.

What to do nearby: Make an appointment to view Indigenous artwork at Mishibinijima Private Art Gallery or discover museum exhibits, art exhibits, and cultural programs at the Ojibwe Cultural FoundationLillian’s Crafts features beautiful First Nations arts and crafts, such as hand-crafted quill boxes. Manitoulin Brewing Company in Little Current is also worth a visit for its great patio.

Head out on the water with Stillwater Fishing for a memorable family-friendly experience. They offer boat tours of McGregor Bay and Baie Fine, and daily fishing excursions with pro guides blending Indigenous culture and traditional methods. Come back on the third weekend in August for the Whitefish River Annual Powwow!

Among the Trees
Among The Trees Glamping offers two stunning geodomes nestled in the trees of the boreal forest.

Where to stay: Just off Manitoulin on Birch Island, Among The Trees Glamping offers two stunning geodomes nestled in the trees of the boreal forest, complete with cozy living area, a kitchenette and breakfast bar, as well as a bathroom with running water. Each dome also comes with private outdoor showers and a sauna. Experience the natural world, and learn about Whitefish River First Nation! Explore nature, surrounding communities, and local shops and eats, or book an excursion with local tour guides.

4. Self-guided Amik Zii Bii Interpretive Hiking Trail

June 21, 2024
Point Grondine Park, Killarney

On June 21 - or any day! - hike the Amik Zii Bii Interpretive Trail at Point Grondine Park to learn about the Indigenous connection to the land. This self-guided 3km hike shares teachings of the Indigenous uses of plants, and details the rich history of Anishinaabek in the area.

A recreational park owned and operated by Wiikwemkoong Unceded TerritoryPoint Grondine Park spans over 18,000 acres of scenic natural wilderness landscape, old-growth pine forest, stunning river vistas and six interior lakes. Hike, canoe or sea kayak along the traditional routes of the Anishnaabek people and explore the lands and waters of the largest First Nation on Manitoulin Island.

What to do nearby: Wikwemikong Tourism offers authentic Indigenous experiences in Killarney and on Manitoulin Island reflecting the culture, history, spirit and traditions of the Anishinaabek people.

Where to stay: Enjoy camping in luxury with Point Grondine’s new off-grid eco-cabin Amikwa Gibaakwagan - the beaver house - which sleeps up to six. For family campers, the premium group sites 800m from the trailhead parking lot are equipped with two wooden tent platforms, fire pit, benches, cooking space and a picnic table and accommodate up to 10 people. There are also gorgeous backcountry sites throughout the park, accessible by hiking trails or by water.

An off grid eco-cabin made of wood with a green roof, set in a clearing of autumn trees.
Point Grondine’s new off-grid eco-cabin Amikwa Gibaakwagan.

5. Dokis First Nation 22nd Annual Traditional Pow Wow

June 22 & 23, 2024
Dokis First Nation, Lake Nipissing (near North Bay)

Dancers at a pow wow at Dokis First Nation hold hands and dance in a circle at the green, grassy pow wow grounds at sunset.
The Dokis First Nation Pow Wow is one of the many annual pow wows in the North Bay region. 

Experience Indigenous culture, art and food at the 22nd Annual Traditional Pow Wow taking place on Giiwejwan Traditional Grounds. This year’s pow wow theme is “Honouring our Youth,” which includes a Sunrise Ceremony and Community feast.

What to do nearby: Camp Petawachuan is an Indigenous-owned ecotourism camp located deep in nature along the shores of the French River. Expeditions include boat tours, medicinal plant walks, guided fishing tours, music, art, and storytelling, all honouring connection with the land. You can visit the Dokis Museum for displays of Dokis history, local artwork and cultural life.

Where to stay: At Camp Petawachuan, choose between all-inclusive eco-adventure packages for the whole family, including a daily adventure, all meals and lodging, or fully furnished cabins with kitchen supplies, BBQ, stove, and fridge.

A full rainbow against a cloudy sky with a lake and grey rocks in the foreground.
Camp Petawachuan is an Indigenous-owned ecotourism camp located deep in nature along the shores of the French River.

Riverview Cottages at Dokis First Nation is a quiet spot with seven cottages, ranging from 2 to 4 bedrooms, and all include a full kitchen, bathroom, satellite TV, internet, screened-in porch, BBQ and a view of the beautiful Upper French River.

6. Weengushk International Film Festival

Mid-July, 2024
Aundeck Omni Kaning, Manitoulin Island

The Weengushk International Film Festival is an annual not-for-profit, Indigenous-run independent film festival. It honours award-winning and burgeoning filmmakers and Indigenous leaders, and features films, workshops, musical performances and an opening night and a gala awards event. The festival is usually held in mid-July (dates currently TBD). The theme of this year’s event is “Residential School Warriors.”

Things to do nearby: Hike to the stunning Michigiwadinong, which means 'bluff in the shape of a spearhead' in Anishinaabemowin. In English it's known as the Cup and Saucer Trail, and is one of Manitoulin Island's most popular hikes. The 70m-high cliff is part of the Niagara Escarpment that stretches up the Bruce Peninsula and divides Lake Huron from Georgian Bay - the view from the top is a breathtaking 180-degree panorama all the way to the North Channel.

Scenic views of a green forest and blue skies from a high rocky outcropping.
Hike to the stunning Michigiwadinong, which means 'bluff in the shape of a spearhead' in Anishinaabemowin. 

The trailhead is just past M'Chigeeng on Highway 540, so you can visit the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation to learn more about the culture and traditions of the Anishinaabe People of the Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island).

Where to stay: Indigenous-owned accommodations in the area range from a luxury hotel to cozy, lakefront cabins. The modern Manitoulin Hotel & Conference Centre is set on Lake Huron’s North Channel and steeped in the Island’s Indigenous cultures. You’ll find First Nations-inspired wood, stone, and textile décor in the comfortable, contemporary rooms. Enjoy stunning views of the LaCloche Mountain range and the North Channel.

On the tranquil shores of Lake Mindemoya, Island Sunrise Cottages offers cozy accommodations, fishing charters, paddling packages, and sightseeing tours. Off-Island, the historic Rainbow Lodge is located within view of the sacred area known to the Ojibwe people as “Dreamer’s Rock,” owned and operated by the Whitefish River First Nation.

7. Go for a paddle, eat maple syrup, pick strawberries, and learn which treaty land you’re on!

Anyday, anywhere in Northeastern Ontario

What would a weekend up north be like without a canoe? Or maple syrup on your pancakes? Or knowing which berries you can enjoy eating? Or the names and paths of rivers and lakes, the fish in them, and all our relations who make their homes in and on this land? For these beautiful gifts - and so many more - of knowledge, culture, medicine, and tradition we, as settlers in this territory, give thanks on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Take a moment to learn about the complicated history of the canoe—and appreciate and acknowledge the gift.

In June, the full moon is called Odemiini-giizis or Miin-giizis in Anishinaabe: Strawberry, or berry, moon. Known as 'heart berry' because of its shape, the wild strawberry is an important food and medicine in many Indigenous cultures in North America.

Discover whose territory you are travelling on, and learn what you can do as a visitor to support that nation.

The region known as Northeastern Ontario is located over several treaty territories and unceded territories, including:

  • Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg and Nipissing First Nation Anishinaabe. Current communities in the area include Kirkland Lake and North Bay.
  • Williams Treaties, which stretch from Lake Ontario to Lake Nipissing. The geography of these Treaties overlaps with several previous treaties.
  • Treaty 9 (James Bay Treaty) territory and the traditional territory of Cree, Moose Cree, Ojibwe, Chippewa, Oji-Cree, Mushkegowuk (Cree) and Algonquin. Current communities in the area include over 14 First Nations, Hearst and Kapuskasing.
  • The unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg. Communities in the area include Mattawa and Temiskaming.
  • Treaty 94 (Manitoulin Island Treaty) and the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe of Mnidoo Mnising. Current communities in the territory described by the written treaty include Little Current and Manitowaning. This area is adjacent to the Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory.

Plan Your Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration in Ontario This Year 

We recognize and deeply appreciate the historic connection of these Nations to this place. We also recognize the contributions that Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples have made, both in shaping and strengthening this region in particular, and this province and country as a whole.

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