Happy Indigenous Peoples Day 2022

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! Today and everyday, we honour the strength, culture and heritage of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. Below is a small snapshot of communities’ successes and celebrations from across Turtle Island during the first half of 2022. Since Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21st, we are sharing 21 milestones that Indigenous people, nations, and organizations have made this year, listed in no particular order. #IndigenousPeoplesDayIsEveryday

1. The ownership of Winnipeg’s downtown Hudson’s Bay building was transferred to Manitoba’s Southern Chiefs’ Organization. The revitalization project has been named Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn, meaning “it is visible” in Anishinaabemowin. The project seeks to create 289 affordable housing units for families and post-secondary students, culturally safe assisted living units for elders, licensed child care built on the language nest model, and a health centre that incorporates both traditional and western practices in a two-eyed seeing approach. There are also plans for two restaurants, a rooftop garden, a museum and an art gallery. https://scoinc.mb.ca/a-new-future-wehwehneh-bahgahkinahgohn/

2. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signed a historic land claim settlement with the Siksika First Nation, The agreement provides $1.3 billion in compensation to Siksika Nation for breaking its Blackfoot Treaty promise and taking nearly half of the Nation’s land to sell to settlers. While the settlement does not undo the wrongs from the past, it can “provide opportunities, opportunities we didn’t have before,” said Chief Ouray Crowfoot. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/siksika-trudeau-signing-ceremony-1.6475167

3. Pauktuutit has been awarded the “Women, Peace and Security Civil Society Leadership Award” from the Government of Canada for its work towards protecting and promoting the human rights of Inuit women. https://pauktuutit.ca/news/pauktuutit-receives-inaugural-women-peace-and-security-award/

4. Krystle Silverfox, a member of Selkirk First Nation (Wolf Clan), has been shortlisted for the 2022 Sobey Art Award. She is one of five artists to make it to this stage of the competition. Krystle’s work explores different materials, and is inspired by Indigenous feminism, trans-nationalism, decolonialism, activism and lived experience. https://www.gallery.ca/whats-on/sobey-art-award/artists-2022/west-coast-and-yukon#Silverfox

5. Lieutenant-General Jocelyn Paul has been named as the Canadian Army’s first Indigenous commander. Lt.-Gen Paul, is a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation from the community of Wendake, Quebec, and has spoken frequently about how his culture has shaped him as a soldier and individual. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jocelyn-paul-canadian-army-armed-forces-1.6491703

6. Kinistin Salteaux Nation has created an app to keep members on and off reserve informed of community news, job opportunities and other information. The app allows the band to stay in touch with off reserve members easily, and Chief Felix Thomas said “We want to make sure [off reserve members] consider Kinistin their home and Kinistin considers them as band members.” The app enables two-way communication, as members can contact the band office easily through a form in the app. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/kinistin-saulteaux-nation-informing-on-off-reserve-band-members-app-1.6488850

7. Simpcw First Nation has signed the first co-created child welfare agreement in British Columbia history, called Tcwesétmentem which means “walking together”. The agreement outlines how the Simpcw and the ministry will work together on assessments, plans of care, and investigations. Decisions will be informed by a Simpcw community designate to ensure the Simpcw perspective and culture and incorporated. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022CFD0019-000551

8. The Klinse-Za mountain caribou herd has bounced back from the brink of extinction in northeastern BC, with help from Salteau FN & West Moberly FN. The two nations worked in partnership with the University of British Columbia and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. The herd only contained 38 animals in 2013, and now has 114 thanks to the work which combined maternal penning, habitat restoration and predator management. https://www-cbc-ca.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.6402758

9. For the first time in 50 years, a baby was born at Sturgeon Lake First Nation with traditional Cree birthing practices. For the past 5 decades, expectant parents had to travel hundreds of kilometres off-reserve to give birth in hospitals as Sturgeon Lake was not equipped for high-risk pregnancies and lacked midwives. The birth is informing band legislation that will support birthing in the community, with appropriate medical, cultural and spiritual support. https://globalnews.ca/news/8678274/sturgeon-lake-first-nation-saskatchewan-first-nation-reclaims-childbirth/

10. Four First Nations in British Columbia are set to take full control over education on their lands. 15 years after the federal government passed legislation that allows First Nations in BC to take over control, it is being put into action. The Lil’wat Nation, the Seabird Island Band, the ʔaq̓am of the Ktunaxa Nation and the Cowichan Tribes of Vancouver Island will form a board to start working on curriculums and teacher certification guidelines. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-first-nations-full-control-education-1.6311022

11. Fort Folly First Nation in New Brunswick has started a lending library to provide access to regalia to anyone who needs it and teaching people to make their own. The lending library runs out of Nukumi House, a family resource centre. The community has seen a resurgence of cultural interest in the last few years, and project lead Nicole Porter says “It’s making [the community] feel welcomed and able to come and participate in cultural activities.” https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/ribbon-skirt-library-mi-kmaq-1.6373313

12. Stoney Nakoda Nations are using cultural teachings & western science to monitor bison. The cultural monitoring practices are informed oral history and teachings from elders. The once 16-animal herd has expanded to 60, and is thriving. https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/stoney-nakoda-combines-western-science-with-cultural-teachings-in-bison-monitoring/

13. Siksika First Nation has had sacred items and regalia returned that belonged to Blackfoot leader Chief Crowfoot after 144 years. The items had been on display in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter, England since 1878. Siksika elder Herman Yellow Old Woman was part of the delegation, and was also pivotal in the development of the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act, which enabled the return of these objects. https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/sacred-items-returned-to-siksika-nation-after-144-years-in-uk-museum

14. Tungasuvvingat Inuit, Ottawa’s major Inuit outreach program, is celebrating 35 years serving the community. The organization has grown from a single employee in 1987 to over 100 staff and 30 different programs. Staff member Wendy Rahman said the most important part of the programming is “to ensure that the culture stays alive.” https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/35-years-and-counting-what-tungasuvvingat-inuit-does-for-the-community/

15. The University of Victoria has its first class of graduates of the Indigenous law program. The program, which was launched four years ago, is the world’s first law degree to combine the study of Indigenous and non-Indigenous law. https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/2022+convo-spring-law-jid+news

16. Wahta First Nation in Ontario is celebrating two centenarian elders: Grace Sewards, 100, and Phoebe Roads, 105. Both Grace and Phoebe were raised in Wahta. Phoebe and her late husband, Frank, had a shop in Port Carling where they made woven baskets and moccasins. https://www.thestar.com/local-gravenhurst/life/2022/05/13/like-a-cat-with-9-lives-wahta-mohawks-celebrate-centenarians.html

17. Anishinaabe-kwe musician ShoShona Kish and Métis songwriter Amanda Rheaume are celebrating the first anniversary of their record label, Ishkōdé Records. The two collaborators have created a record label by Indigenous artists, for Indigenous artists. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-50-q/clip/15919856-ishkde-records-founders-shoshona-kish-amanda-rheaume-1-year

18. Cheam First Nation has partnered with Fraser Health and the First Nations Health Authority to open an overdose prevention site on their territory. This will be British Columbia’s first and Canada’s second overdose prevention site on reserve land. The site will serve both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living on Cheam, and will be open to people from neighbouring Nations and communities. https://www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/new-partnership-creates-first-ever-overdose-prevention-site-on-indigenous-land-in-bc

19. Matawa First Nations recently undertook a project to study the land of all 9 Nations to make informed decisions about its future use. Staff taught themselves how to use drone technology and mapped all of the Nations to 1cm accuracy. The land is difficult to navigate, and for many members it was the first time they were able to see their land represented accurately on a map. https://resources.esri.ca/geographical-thinking-podcast/season-2-episode-20-drone-project-in-matawa-first-nations

20. The Native Women’s Association of Canada has opened the Resiliency Lodge Chelsea in Quebec. The goal of the lodge is to create a welcoming, culturally safe space for Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people to take part in healing experiences that are rooted in traditional knowledge, teachings and ceremonies. https://nwac.ca/journal/the-resiliency-lodge-chelsea

21. Aiyana Twigg of Tobacco Plains Indian Band has been awarded the Lieutenant-Governor medal for her work in Indigenous language revitalization. The 21-year-old spent the last year of her undergraduate degree studying the art of dictionary making, and has been working with UBC anthropology professor Mark Turin to create online resources to guide communities on how to create their own dictionaries. https://www.terracestandard.com/news/ubc-student-wins-lieutenant-governor-medal-for-work-on-indigenous-language-revitalization/


22. The Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club has teamed up with xʷməθkʷəy̓əm artist Debra Sparrow to create a special logo to be used on all the club’s channels during Indigenous History Month. Sparrow hails from Musqueam Indian Band, and is a multi-disciplinary artist, including Salish design, jewelry-making and has been deeply involved in the revival of Musqueam weaving. https://www.whitecapsfc.com/news/whitecaps-fc-host-indigenous-peoples-match-on-saturday-at-bc-place