Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023 in Kingston

Dozens of people joined hand in hand during Kingston’s National Indigenous Peoples Day in 2021. Photo by Queen’s University’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

On Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2023, the community is invited to celebrate the history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis locally and across the country.

Beginning National Indigenous Peoples Day here in Kingston, the orange “Every Child Matters” flag will be raised at Kingston City Hall. The day’s events will then take place in City Park starting at 9 a.m., and will wrap up with a free concert featuring Digging Roots at 7 p.m. in Springer Market Square. According to the duo’s website, “Digging Roots breathe life into songs from their land, Turtle Island, to raise their voices in solidarity with a global chorus of Indigenous artists, activists and change-makers.”

“For over a decade, [the] two-time Juno Award winners… have traveled the world with a joyful message of resistance, celebrating Anishinaabe and Onkwehón:we traditions of round dance and interconnectedness.”

The day-long community celebration serves to “strengthen bonds, build relationships, break down barriers, and grow understanding,” according to Constance Carriere-Prill, Executive Director of the Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest (KILN). “We hope that all Kingston residents will come out and join us tomorrow in celebration.”

Along with KILN, Kewaywin Circle, Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle, the Limestone District School Board, Queens University’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives, the City of Kingston, and other local organizations have come together to create this day of celebration.

Demonstrations, performances, and activities will take place throughout the day, including an artists’ alley, ceremonial fire and a special visit from Kingston Fire and Rescue. A number of the activities will run throughout the day, allowing attendees to join in when they’re able.

Submitted graphic.

“KILN is proud to support National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations because it is a day for community to celebrate the history, culture, resilience and diversity of Indigenous peoples. We particularly understand the unique needs of urban Indigenous peoples to be able to come together as a diverse representation of many First Nations, Inuit and Metis nations and languages and be what our staff like to say is ‘unapologetically Indigenous’ as a community,” Carriere-Prill continued.

Mayor Bryan Paterson attending the Kingston National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in 2022. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

This year marks the 27th anniversary of the government proclamation by then Governor General Roméo LeBlanc, according to the Government of Canada website. Originally recognized as National Aboriginal Day, on June 21, 2017, the Prime Minister issued a statement announcing the intention to rename this day National Indigenous Peoples Day.

According to the federal government, June 21 was chosen due to the flurry of activity that occurs annually among many different Indigenous communities in marking the Summer Solstice, which occurs on the same date and marks the longest day of the year. The date aims to see larger communities come together to celebrate Indigenous culture, language, tradition, and way of life, something Kingston saw successfully come to fruition at last year’s National Indigenous Peoples Day events.

Those who stay downtown to take in Digging Roots will also notice Kingston City Hall illuminated in the four colours of the Medicine Wheel. “Different Nations interpret the Medicine Wheel differently, but the four colours are often used to signify the Four Directions (East, South, West, and North) and it is also often used as a tool for learning and teaching,” the City of Kingston website states.

This year, Kingston’s National Indigenous Peoples Day event organizers are showing off a brand new logo for the day, created by Jayme Blondin of Sexual Assault Centre Kingston.

Graphic by Jayme Blondin.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!