The Canadian Union of Labour Employees will join National Aboriginal Day celebrations on June 21 as it continues to advocate for fair and equal treatment of all Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.
The federal government proclaimed June 21 as National Aboriginal Day in 1996 after consultations with Aboriginal groups across Canada. That date has held significance to Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples for several generations. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) had called for a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be commemorated on June 21. Thirteen years later, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that a National First Peoples Day be observed. That same year, 1995, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people – the Sacred Assembly – called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canada.
June 21 also coincides with summer solstice – the longest day of the year. Aboriginal groups have a long-standing tradition of celebrating their culture and heritage at this time.