National Indigenous People’s Day is a summertime tradition 

You know it’s the summer solstice when the mercury is soaring and the sound of happy little voices splashing in the water fill the air with a spirited joy.

Such was the scene at the Six Nations Community Hall on Friday as hundreds gathered to enjoy a free barbecue coupled with sun, music, a free midway, and of course, lots of laughter and smiles in celebration of National Indigenous People’s Day.

The Six Nations Fire Department even turned on the hose to cool off guests as the blazing midday sun announced the arrival of summer on Friday, much to the delight of youngsters enjoying the Six Nations splash pad.

Coun. Greg Frazer was at the community hall to welcome community members in the celebrations and reflect on what Indigenous Day meant to him.

“It’s a beautiful day. We’ve had a lot of issues in our community. This is a time to come together and socialize and just celebrate ourselves and to be together.

It’s also a day to show solidarity with other First Nations, he said, citing the recent Chiefs of Ontario annual assembly held on Six Nations where a new provincial chief was elected.

“We’re trying to show solidarity with other nations. We have the same issues (as other First Nations). We have a strong voice if we speak together.”

Indigenous People’s Day occurs on June 21 every year in Canada, going back to 1996, when the Governor General of the time, Romeo Leblanc, first declared the summer solstice as national Indigenous People’s Day.

It’s a day, the government said, to recognize Indigenous people, their culture and contributions to Canada.

Before that, however, the day was declared Indian Day in 1945 by chiefs across North America. The National Indian Brotherhood, now the Assembly of First Nations, called for the creation of a National Indigenous Solidarity Day in 1982 and took until 1996 when the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the day to be officially and federally recognized.

It coincides with the month of June being an entire month federally dedicated to the history and contributions of Indigenous people in Canada as Indigenous People’s Month.

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