Indigenous History Month (June)
Each June, we celebrate National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous people. It's also an opportunity to recognize the strength of present-day Indigenous people and their communities. The Reconciliation Saskatoon flag is raised for the first week of June in Civic Square (behind City Hall; 23rd Street, between 3rd and 4th avenues).
A number of events are held annually in Saskatoon to honour and learn from Indigenous people. Check out the 2021 Events Calendar.
Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21)
June 21st has been recognized annually as National Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly National Aboriginal Day) since 1996. For generations, many Indigenous communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the Summer Solstice as the longest day of the year. This is a day to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of Indigenous people.
Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation
The City of Saskatoon, in its role as Co-Chair of Reconciliation Saskatoon, helps organize the annual Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation on Indigenous Peoples Day. Participants answer the TRC Calls to Action by promoting reconciliation, honouring Residential School Survivors, and working to make Saskatoon a more inclusive community. Get event updates and view event photos and video by following Reconciliation Saskatoon on Facebook.
Why do we walk? The Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation has its origins in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which launched its final report in 2015. Reading the final report or the 94 Calls to Action is an important step in reconciliation. We are grateful to Eugene Arcand, a Residential School Survivor, for sharing his story about how the Walk for Reconciliation got started in Saskatoon.
National Day for Truth & Reconciliation / Orange Shirt Day (Sept 30)
Since 2013, Canada has recognized September 30th as Orange Shirt Day—a day to acknowledge the impacts of Indian Residential Schools. Wearing orange is a way to honour residential school survivors, their families, and those who didn’t make it home. It’s a way to acknowledge the legacy of residential schools, demonstrate a commitment to reconciliation, and affirm Every Child Matters. The origin of the orange shirt comes from the personal story of residential school survivor, Phyllis Webstad.
In 2021, in the wake of locating unmarked graves at residential schools across Canada, the federal government passed legislation to also designate September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Going forward, the day will mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and/or Orange Shirt Day.
> Sept 2021 Reconciliation Events & Activities Calendar
> News Release
> Orange Shirt Stencil (for print and display)
Wîcihitowin Indigenous Engagement Conference (October)
In 2014, a group of Saskatchewan Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations came together with the common purpose of honouring survivors of the residential school system and sixties scoop, and supporting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Through the creation of the Wîcihitowin Indigenous Engagement Conference, Residential School Survivors were given a platform to share their voices and their teachings with the hope of inspiring respectful engagement and meaningful inclusion of Indigenous peoples’ within the community, and the creation of resources and tools needed to create culturally respectful organizations. “Wîcihitowin”, a Cree/Saulteaux term meaning “to help each other/to work together”, is the driving force for the now annual event. The City of Saskatoon has been a proud partner of this event since its inception.
This conference is for anyone working towards respectful Indigenous engagement and inclusion in a community-based setting. Learn more and register at wicihitowin.ca.
Download the 2021 Conference Poster.