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National Aboriginal Day is June 21

Note: June 21st is now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

On June 21, we are called as a nation to celebrate Canada's National Aboriginal Day.

On the 21st day of every June, the earth reaches a point in its orbit where the top of the axis is pointed closest to the sun, resulting in the northern hemisphere being bathed in the most amount of light in a 24-hour period. This is known as the Summer Solstice and is recognized in many cultures to be a day of self-reflection and celebration. On this day in 1996, former Governor General, Roméo LeBlanc, announced that this sacred day would from then on be shared to recognize the history of Aboriginal peoples' across Canada as National Aboriginal Day (NAD).

Although this day is relatively new in Canada's history, First Nations and communities from all walks of life have celebrated their legacy in close proximity to the Solstice for generations. It was with this knowledge that Governor General LeBlanc, in close consultation with the Assembly of First Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, made it so that every year on June 21st we as Canadians would recognize these great people through this proclamation:

Proclamation of the Governor General 

National Aboriginal Day

A Proclamation ELIZABETH THE SECOND, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories QUEEN, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

TO ALL TO WHOM these Presents shall come or whom the same may in any way concern,


WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada recognizes the existing rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;

WHEREAS in the Constitution of Canada "Aboriginal peoples of Canada" include the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada;

WHEREAS the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have made and continue to make valuable contributions to Canadian society and it is considered appropriate that there be, in each year, a day to mark and celebrate these contributions and to recognize the different cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;

AND WHEREAS many Aboriginal peoples celebrate the summer solstice, which has an important symbolism within their cultures;

THEREFORE, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, hereby directs that a proclamation do issue declaring June 21 of each year as "National Aboriginal Day".

OF ALL OF WHICH Our Loving Subjects and all others whom these Presents may concern are hereby required to take notice and to govern themselves accordingly.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent and the Great Seal of Canada to be hereunto affixed.

WITNESS: Our Right Trusty and Well-beloved Roméo A. LeBlanc, a Member of Our Privy Council for Canada, Chancellor and Principal Companion of Our Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of Our Order of Military Merit, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

AT OUR GOVERNMENT HOUSE, in Our City of Ottawa, this thirteenth day of June in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ninety-six and in the forty-fifth year of Our Reign.


After nearly twenty years of recognition and celebration, the tradition of appreciating the lives of Aboriginal peoples everywhere is still holding strong as people from all backgrounds assemble in traditional powwows and gatherings so to better educate themselves about their country's rich cultural heritage. National Aboriginal Day is part of Celebrate Canada, a program designed to identify important events and people in our history. Other days funded through Canadian Heritage and Celebrate Canada include Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, June 24th, and Canada Day, July 1st.

2019 National Aboriginal Day events

Events will be posted in Spring 2019. 

About Travis Heath

Travis Heath is a graduate of the Film Production Program in Thunder Bay. He worked as a Writing Intern providing content for Ontario's Sunset Country in Kenora.

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