Skip to content

June is National Indigenous History Month

June 3, 2024

June is National Indigenous History Month – a time for all Canadians – Indigenous, non-Indigenous and newcomers – to reflect upon and learn the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. It’s important to keep in mind that First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples each have their own unique histories. And within each group, there are distinct histories.

Why do Indigenous Peoples need to learn about their history?

Because, due to assimilation and segregation policies of the federal government, Indigenous Peoples were physically removed from their lands onto reserves or into settlements. Their relationship with their traditional lands was the foundation of who they were as a People; the land held their history. In addition to removing them from their lands, everything that made them who they were – their distinct cultural practices, languages, and spirituality – was outlawed, prohibited or erased.

It is estimated that 150,000 Indigenous children were forced into the residential schools that operated from the late 1800s until the last one closed in 1996. While at the schools the children were taught or forced to accept that they, their families and their cultures were inferior to European culture and lifestyle. The children learned to be ashamed of their identity. It has been a struggle for many individuals and communities ever since to relearn, regain, and revitalize what was taken.