JFK Law offices will be closed on June 21, 2021 in honour of national Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
We close our offices so that our team can participate in the day’s events to celebrate and connect with communities and the Indigenous territories on which we are privileged to work/live and to reflect on how to contribute to advancing reconciliation.
This special day provides an excellent opportunity to commemorate and engage with the outstanding achievements, unique heritage, and diversity of Inuit, First Nations, and Métis peoples. June also marks National Indigenous History Month, and there are a number of inclusive gatherings today and during the rest of the month generously offering a range of experiences intended for all ages, including live music, workshops, art, and cuisine.
We encourage you to join in on celebrations to learn more about Indigenous Peoples in your area and from across the land and to acknowledge their inherent and constitutionally protected rights.
Many of these celebrations have moved online to accommodate wider public gathering and engagement. In addition to events that may be occurring in your area, below are some example of the events to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day happening on the territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples (Victoria), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations (Vancouver):
- Smudging Ceremony (online) – Learn about the sacred smudging ceremony.
- First Stories: Tales from Turtle Island (online) – Hear the voices and stories of the original peoples of Turtle Island as told by Indigenous storytellers from across the land.
- National Indigenous Peoples Day 2021 Celebration at the City of Vancouver (online) – Celebrate Indigenous cultures and the Downtown Eastside on National Indigenous Peoples Day with Carnegie Community Centre and UBC Learning Exchange. Join this virtual cultural sharing event to watch the livestream and pre-recorded performances from Carnegie’s own lexwst’i:lem drum group, Children of Takaya dancers, and many more.
- Celebrate Indigenous excellence and innovation by tuning into the INDSPIRE awards on June 22 at 8pm PST (online)
- Carnegie Community Centre Let’s Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day (online)
- Virtual National Indigenous Peoples Day (online), Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association and City of Surrey, 11 am to 7:30 pm.
- You can also tune into APTN to watch festivities live from across the country (online).
- The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is free to the public on June 21st.
- Mawessine: United FOR and THROUGH Indigenous Art – Les Productions Ondinnok’s 35th Anniversary Gala (online) – Celebrating 35 years of artistic creation and resistance! To mark this milestone and revive the spirit of ancient alliances, Mawessine (“united” in Wolastqey), brings together Ondinnok’s extended artistic family to revisit and celebrate its history.
- Salmon n’ Bannock – an Indigenous owned and run restaurant – will be hosting a salmon barbecue to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, Father’s Day, and the Summer Solstice from June 19 to 21.
While National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day of celebration, it is important to acknowledge Canada’s history towards Indigenous peoples and the many ways that history continues to perpetuate injustice for present and future generations of Indigenous peoples. We encourage everyone to better understand the territory we live on – the First Peoples’ Cultural Council created the First Peoples’ Map, an online interactive map showing the Indigenous territories, languages, arts, and cultures in and around BC.
We also strongly encourage everyone to read, support and, critically, find ways to act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, the MMIWG Inquiry’s Calls for Justice, and the many other reports and calls for change in Canada with the objective of achieving better recognition of Indigenous rights and self-determination (for example, the independent reports commissioned to investigate the proliferation of Indigenous-specific discrimination in BC’s health care system: In Plain Sight or the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s report on Canada’s alarming human rights record towards, and treatment of, Indigenous Peoples’).