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Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day across the NWT

 June 23, 2020
Posted by NWT Recreation and Parks Association

Each year, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, we all celebrate the many beautiful cultures and history of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis across Denendeh (The Land of the People), and Inuvialuit Nunangit Sannaiqtuaq (the Inuvialuit Settlement Region), otherwise called the Northwest Territories.  

While this year is a particularly challenging year to come together with our communities and celebrate due to COVID-19, and some communities events—such as Acho Dene Koe First Nation, Sambaa K’e, and Somba K’e (Yellowknife)—were cancelled or postponed this year, other communities still attempted to celebrate safely in some way or another!

Here’s a snapshot of some community celebrations over the weekend for #IndigenousPeoplesDay2020:

The  Tłı̨chǫ Government hosted a number of National Indigenous People’s Day contests—and the deadline is extended to 3 pm on Wednesday June 24, 2020! Check out the contests for everyone from all four  Tłı̨chǫ communities: https://bit.ly/2Y5SMQb

Lots of Dene Games played over in Délı̨nę.

Indigenous Peoples Day Handgames

Posted by Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government on Sunday, June 21, 2020

In Behchokǫ̀ there was parade for everyone on June 22.

Behchoko parade 2020

Posted by Richard Jon Charlo on Monday, June 22, 2020

In Inuvik, Inuvik Tourism and Inuvialuit Communications Society, hosted a Facebook Live to listen to storytelling from Gerry Kisoun by the campfire at Jak Park Campground.

Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with Gerry Kisoun and storytelling by the campfire in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada.Special thanks to local Youth Mackenzie Cockney for keeping the fire going and the tea hot & to Inuvialuit Communications Society for their technical support of the broadcast.

Posted by Inuvik Tourism on Sunday, June 21, 2020

Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership hosted multiple events all day long on June 21; the opening event featured Inuvialuit Elder Lilian Elias. And an afternoon screening of “Greed Story” by Tom Mcleod and Darcie ‘Ouiyaghasiak’ Bernhardt, was followed by a talk with them moderated by Inuit Futures Artist-in-Residence, Glenn Gear.

Elder Archie Kaglik from Aklavik/Inuuvik was one of the featured guests in 100 Huntley Street’s Indigenous People’s Day Youtube video, sharing his story of residential school, addiction, and faith: https://youtu.be/wpeog_7AobM?t=525

The Kingalik Jamboree kicked off on June 19 in Ulukhaktok, going all weekend long with fish filleting and tea boiling contests, and rum dancing.

Kátł’odeeche First Nation hosted a Culture Fun Day on June 19 with canoe races!

K'atlodeeche Aboriginal Day events

Posted by K'atl'odeeche First Nation on Friday, June 19, 2020

In Fort Simpson: Łíídlįį Kûę First Nation, Métis Nation Local 52, and Nogha Enterprises sponsored a ‘Longest Day Golf Tournament’ on June 20.

Deninu Kų’ First Nation will be hosting outdoor events on July 1.

As we celebrate the Indigenous peoples across Canada throughout Indigenous Peoples History Month, we also recognize there is still much to learn, and work to do in continuing to implement the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry, and decolonizing and reconciling our relationship with recreation.

We invite recreation leaders and partners to join us in letting our celebration of Indigenous peoples also be an opportunity to remember we must continue listening and learning from them, and practicing decolonization and reconciliation in our lives and work every single day. Below we’ve shared a non-extensive list of some resources to begin with on NWT history, NWT sports, and books on the NWT and/or by NWT authors.

Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #87-91: Sport and Reconciliation

Learning Resources

Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife sheds light on what 2S in 2SLGBTQ+ means
TRC Findings and TRC Calls to Action
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Indigenous Long–Term Participant Development Pathway (Sport for Life: Indigenous Peoples)
United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

NWT History

Understanding Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in the Northwest Territories: An Introduction
Treaty No. 8 (1899)
Treaty No. 11 (1921)
11 Languages of the NWT
NWT Sport Hall of Fame
Sport Canada’s Policy on Aboriginal Peoples’ Participation in Sport
Arctic Winter Games: A Background
Mini Documentary Arctic Winter Games
Learn about Dene Games


The Man Who Lived with a Giant: Stories from Johnny Neyelle, Dene Elder edited by Alana Fletcher and Morris Neyelle
The Science of the Sacred by Nicole Redvers
Across Time and Tundra: The Inuvialuit of the Western Arctic by Ishmael Alunik, Eddie D Kolausok, David Morrison
Northern Wildflower by Catherine Lafferty
From Bear Rock Mountain: The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor by Antoine Bear Rock Mountain
They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School by Bev Sellers
Sharing Our Truths by Henry Beaver and Mindy Willett, with Eileen Beaver
Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
1990 Arctic Winter Games, Yellowknife, N.W.T. by John Allerston
The North-West Is Our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel’s People, the Metis Nation by Jean Teillet