National Indigenous People's Day

The Dundas Museum and Archives, located on the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Peoples, would like to wish everyone a very happy National Indigenous People’s Day.

The Canadian Federal Government instituted the holiday in 1996 to honour Indigenous cultures, including that of the Inuit, Metis, and other First Nations. It is a day of celebration of Indigenous culture, art, music, food, dance, and storytelling. It also coincides with the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, which is both historically and symbolically significant.

National Indigenous People’s Day also falls within National Indigenous History Month. The Dundas Museum and Archives is home to a number of Indigenous artifacts, which provides us insight into the Neutrals (called the Attawandaron by the Wendat), a group of Indigenous people who left the valley due to warfare prior to the settlement of Dundas by Europeans. The land was then acquired by the Crown through the Between the Lakes Purchase of 1792, made between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit Nation, which allowed for loyalist settlers to begin moving in to create the town called Dundas.

While Dundas provided refuge to immigrants, however, Canada’s original residents were faced with increasing restrictions, abuse, and loss of sovereignty. The Mohawk Residental School, which operated from 1828 to 1970 only 35km away from Dundas, was only the first school in a network of systemized abuse of Indigenous children, intended to remove the culture we now celebrate today.

The attempts by the Canadian government to eliminate Indigenous culture and assimilate Indigenous peoples into settler society make the commemoration, and celebration, of those cultures, not only joyous but defiant. Despite the best efforts by the colonial authorities, Indigenous people and their cultures are still here, still alive, vibrant, and diverse.

Looking for a way to celebrate? Check out the resources below!

One Dish, Many Stories (podcast): Jordan Carrier, a Piapot First Nation woman currently residing in Hamilton, ON, has recently launched “One Dish, Many Stories”, a podcast intended to teach “the people who live, work and play within these lands…[about] the Indigenous nations who lived, travelled through and used these lands for sustenance. How this growing urban center has impacted Indigenous peoples and the resilience [and] strength of the urban Indigenous community”

Group of Six: Coloring & Activity Book (PDF): A booklet produced by a group of young artists from the Six Nations of the Grand River, and, a Brantford book supplier who focuses on Inuit, Metis and First Nations produced materials and educational resources. Both a good colouring book, and a good website for resources! Click Here

CBCListen: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has compiled playlists so you can listen to a variety of Indigenous artists. Discover your next favourite artist!

Woodland Cultural Centre/ Mush Hole Project: The Woodland Cultural Centre, which includes a Museum with over 35,000 items, includes in their exhibition information on the Neutrals, as well as other Indigenous peoples in southern Ontario, if you would like to learn more about these specific elements. Although their NIPD event was held virtually on the evening of June 20th, you can join them next month for another virtual movie screening, or for a virtual tour. They have also recently initiated The Mush Hole Project, based on the name given to the Mohawk Residental School by its survivors, to “produce an immersive, site-specific art and performance installation that responds to the former residential school.” Visit to discover more about who’s land you live on, and who your neighbours are!