National Aboriginal Day in Canada 2019

National and Public Holidays in Canada Regional Holiday in Canada

National Aboriginal Day is a public holiday in Canada

When is National Aboriginal Day?

How long until National Aboriginal Day?
This holiday next takes place in 59 Days.
Dates of National Aboriginal Day
Year Weekday Date
2020 Sunday June 21st
2019 Friday June 21st
2018 Thursday June 21st
2017 Wednesday June 21st
2016 Tuesday June 21st
Where is National Aboriginal Day a holiday?
Northwest Territories, Yukon
A Provincial Statutory Holiday since 2001 in Northwest Territories and since 2017 in Yukon

National Aboriginal Day is a provincial statutory holiday in North West Territories and Yukon.

It is observed on 21 June and marks the summer solstice. This date was chosen to reflect the spiritual importance of the summer solstice to all of the indigenous peoples of Canada.

Interestingly, another Provincial holiday has its roots in the same event, as the National Day of Quebec is celebrated on 24 June, the Feast of St. John, which in turn was a popular holiday due to its proximity to the summer solstice, a key festival in Pagan Europe.

On 21 June 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the intention to change the name of National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Peoples Day. The change to “Indigenous” brings the Canadian government in line with the United Nations use of the word in international discussions as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

What is National Aboriginal Day?

The idea for a nationwide day to celebrate Indigenous culture and contributions was first proposed in 1982, by the Assembly of First Nations, formerly the National Indian Brotherhood.

The first National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed by Roméo LeBlanc, Canada’s governor general in 1996 following consultation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders. The Canadian Constitution recognises these three groups as the Indigenous Peoples. The aim of the day is to celebrate the cultures and contributions indigenous peoples have made to Canada. It is also an opportunity for all Canadians to learn about our country’s history and to celebrate Canada's diversity.

National Aboriginal Day forms part of the Celebrate Canada program, which also includes the National Day of Quebec on 24 June, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on 27 June and Canada Day on 1 July.

National Aboriginal Day has been a provincial statutory holiday in North West Territories since 2001 and since 2017 in Yukon. Indigenous peoples make up 52 per cent and 23 per cent of the populations of North West Territories and Yukon respectively.

The importance of the summer solstice to those who lived in northern latitudes is clear. It marks the maximum amount of daylight each year and the furthest point from the long, dark, cold nights of winter. For instance, did you know that rather then celebrating independence or any other great political event like most countries, the National Day of Greenland ('Ullortuneq') is celebrated on the summer solstice.

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