In the Spotlight: Indigenous People’s Day

What does Indigenous People’s Day mean to you? The answers are as varied - and sometimes as surprising - as the people who gave them.

What does Indigenous People’s Day mean to you?

The answers are as varied – and sometimes as surprising – as the people who gave them.

Coast Guard mother of two, moved to Sitka in 2023 to join her spouse who is billeted here:
Indigenous People’s Day gives my family an opportunity to teach my son about the cultural history of Native Americans and their legacy.

David Kanosh’s generous message to last year’s IPD planning group:
The works of William Shakespeare, the epic sagas and legends of the Scandinavian nations, songs and legends of the Saami, the ancient myths of the Greeks and Romans. These are some things which I enjoyed throughout my life, and my life has been enriched greatly by these. Whatever your ancestral heritage may be, there is something… worth preserving and sharing. I ask that you remember and celebrate those good things from those ancient lineages. We can learn from each other. We can uphold each other. We can strengthen each other.

Young man working at Sitka Ace Hardware:
IPD is a good time to acknowledge where you live – this is very important.

Health Care worker visiting from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada:
We have one, too – an Indigenous People’s Day – that’s in June. A day of reflection to think about customs and suffering and steps for the future. We also have “Orange Shirt” Day – on Sep 30, same as the U.S. This is about remembering and honoring the lost First Nations children forcibly removed from their families. There have been in the past few years x-ray studies and archeological digs under the former school sites.

Long-time prominent Sitkan who was also born in Canada as a First Nations person:
A lot of the time (IPD) brings up family and is tinged with sadness. Especially because of the closeness to “Orange Shirt” Day. But it does make me happy that things are starting to come to the surface now.

From Wikipedia, about Canada’s IPD:
National Aboriginal Day (National Indigenous Peoples Day) is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. The day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year… to be celebrated annually on 21 June.

From Wikipedia, about “Canadian Indian” residential school system:
In May 2021, remains believed to be those of 215 children were found buried on the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, on the lands of the Tkʼemlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. The remains were located with the assistance of a ground-penetrating radar specialist and… the deaths were believed to have been undocumented…On June 23, 2021, an estimated 751 unmarked graves were found on the site of Marieval Indian Residential School in Marieval, Saskatchewan, on the lands of Cowessess First Nation. Some of these graves predated the establishment of the residential school. On June 24, 2021, Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation held a virtual press conference. From June 2 to June 23 they found an estimated 751 unmarked graves. Delorme went on to state, “…We are going to put names on these unmarked graves.”

“Orange Shirt” Day:
Observed in both Canada and Alaska on September 30th – is also known in Canada as the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.”


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