National Indigenous Peoples Day 2024 in Vancouver

Candace Campo from Talaysay Tours leads an Indigenous cultural tour in Stanley Park

Candace Campo from Talaysay Tours leads an Indigenous walking tour in Stanley Park. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout

National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 is a great opportunity to celebrate Indigenous culture and engage with reconciliation. Here’s where to find 2024 events around Vancouver.

 

What is National Indigenous Peoples Day?

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the cultures of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in what is now Canada. It is held each year on June 21, the summer solstice, because many Indigenous peoples have celebrated their culture and heritage around that time of year for generations.

In Canada’s history, the contributions of Indigenous people were often not acknowledged or recognized. Today, Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate Indigenous art, culture, and traditions.

However, like the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation held each year on September 30, National Indigenous Peoples Day also has a more sombre side. Some people use this day to remember the harms done to Indigenous people, including the residential school system. It is also a time for settler Canadians to reflect on how they can contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

 

National Indigenous Peoples Day Block Party Celebration at the Carnegie Community Centre

In 2024, you can attend the National Indigenous Peoples Day Block Party Celebration at the Carnegie Community Centre on Main Street in Vancouver. The entire block will be closed to traffic to allow for food, crafts, medicines, smudging and performances from Indigenous performers including J.B. The First Lady, Mannix, Haida Dance Group, D.J. Angle, Ember Sparxx, Carnegie’s lexwst’i:lem drum group, and more.

Promotional Poster for National Indigenous Peoples Block Party Celebration at the Carnegie Community Centre.

Photo: Carnegie Community Centre/Facebook

 

National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Celebrate Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Líl̓wat7úl culture at the National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler. The event includes an artists’ market, family crafts, and Indigenous-inspired cuisine at the Thunderbird Cafe. Throughout the day there will be cultural programming including storytelling, live carving, a comedy show, weaving demonstrations, a log blessing, and more. Admission to the museum is free on National Indigenous Peoples Day.

A tour group inside the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler

Junior Curator Alison Pascal on a tour at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler. Photo: Destination BC/ITBC

 

Community Celebrations for National Indigenous Peoples Day

Many communities around Vancouver are holding their own celebrations for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

In West Vancouver, the National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration takes place at Ambleside Park. It features live music, cultural activities and a salmon dinner.

The Bill Reid Millenium Amphitheatre in Cloverdale is the venue for Surrey’s National Indigenous People’s Day Celebration and Wellness Event. The free event is hosted by the Semiahmoo, Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations. It includes cultural sharing through art, music, storytelling, dance, and more.

Burnaby’s National Indigenous People’s Day community celebration takes place at Civic Square (6100 Willingdon) and includes an artisans market, family-friendly activities, and live performances of music, dance, spoken word, and storytelling.

Performers at the Burnaby National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration.

Performers at the Burnaby National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. Photo: City of Burnaby

 

Story Stream with the VPL Indigenous Storyteller in Residence

Since 2008, the Vancouver Public Library has had an Indigenous Storyteller in Residence program. On National Indigenous Peoples Day you can tune in to a livestream with 2024 Indigenous Storyteller in Residence, Joseph Kakwinokanasum. He will be reading from his book, My Indian Summer.

Headshot of Indigenous author Joseph Kakwinokanasum

Joseph Kakwinokanasum. Photo: VPL

 

Discover Indigenous Tourism Experiences

You can experience Indigenous culture in Vancouver any time of year. Use the Indigenous Tourism BC App to find Indigenous tourism experiences across BC. Local experiences include guided Indigenous cultural walking tours with Talaysay Tours in Stanley Park and guided cultural canoe tours with Takaya Tours on Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm in North Vancouver.

Paddlers in a First Nations Canoe

Paddlers on a canoe tour with Takaya Tours. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Vision Event Photography Inc.

 

Visit Galleries and Museums

Many galleries and museums around Vancouver feature historical and contemporary Indigenous art. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in downtown Vancouver celebrates the work of the late Bill Reid, a Haida artist, as well as a rotating collection of contemporary Indigenous art.

The Museum of Anthropology at UBC, known as MOA houses over 50,000 cultural objects, many of which originate in Coast Salish cultures from the area of what is now Vancouver. The museum has recently re-opened after a renovation for seismic upgrades and features several new exhibitions featuring Indigenous photographs, ceramics, and artworks in addition to their extensive collection.

Interior of the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver

Inside the Bill Reid Gallery. Photo: Sama Jim Canzian/Bill Reid Gallery

 

Learn Indigenous Languages with First Voices

The First Voices website provides a space for Indigenous communities to share their language and oral history online. You can use it to learn key phrases in dozens of Indigenous languages including some spoken in the Vancouver area such Hulʼqʼumiʼnumʼ / Halqʼeméylem / hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, which is spoken many Coast Salish Nations, and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim, spoken by the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh).

A woman speaks into a microphone as part of the Indigenous First Voices project

Photo: First Voices

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