Holiday for : Northwest Territories
National Aboriginal Day, June 21, is an official day of celebration to recognize and honour the valuable contributions to Canadian society by Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. National Aboriginal Day is the same day as the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) and was chosen for its important symbolism to many Aboriginal peoples.
The National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) in 1982 first suggested establishing "National Aboriginal Solidarity Day" as a day of recognition. In 1990, the Québec legislature established June 21 as a day to celebrate Aboriginal culture. Tensions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples between 1990 and 1995 led to renewed calls for a national day of recognition and it was one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The Sacred Assembly of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal spiritual leaders, a national meeting organized by Elijah Harper in 1995, encouraged the federal government to establish "National First Peoples Day" as a day of unity and acknowledgment. This led to the proclamation of National Aboriginal Day on 13 June 1996 by then Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, and later that month, the first National Aboriginal Day was celebrated on the 21st.
Across Canada the day is marked by ceremonies and celebrations that highlight cultural performers and activities, displays of arts and crafts, and events that recognize the contributions by Aboriginal people. National Aboriginal Day is a statutory territorial holiday (established in 2001) in the Northwest Territories to honour and acknowledge its Dene, Métis and Inuvialuit (Mackenzie Inuit) peoples.