GOOD NEWS | National Indigenous Peoples Day — Seize the Opportunity

publication date: Jun 19, 2024
author/source: Chris Snyder

All special named days draw attention to the people/group being celebrated, and when it comes to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, it is a day to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage and diverse cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

In recent years, Truth and Reconciliation practices have helped us to understand the injustices and the negative consequences of colonialization. There’s no question that the residential schools and their heritage; violence against women; an ongoing lack of potable water, and the slowness of government to take corrective action are all long-overdue essential areas of focus. But there’s also other positive things happening. There is good news.

• In Nova Scotia, Indigenous-run secondary school programmes are producing a higher percentage of graduates than regular programmes for non-Indigenous students
• The Indigenous arts are flourishing, including award-winning writers Bob Joseph (21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act), Michelle Good ( 5 Little Indians) and Richard Wagamese (Indian Horse).
• There have been financial reparations to Indigenous Peoples including $9.8 billion for individuals and communities affected by unclean water and $23 billion awarded for child welfare.
• There have been great steps forward in the business world. A few years ago, the Mik’maq in Nova Scotia purchased control of Clearwater Seafoods the largest shell fish producer in North America. Various Institutions (including a new Indigenous Bank) are making capital available for Indigenous enterprises.
• Non-Indigenous peoples are acknowledging that they are present on traditional lands, with increased understanding regarding the injustices that have occurred through colonization.

Non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples are meeting and talking to get a better understanding of how change can happen. People are asking, “What can I do?”

Reading and learning about Indigenous Peoples, past and present happenings is a first step. Also, a great example of “action” is Honouring Indigenous Peoples (HIP), a joint venture between Rotarians and Indigenous People. Board members are 50% Rotarian and 50% Indigenous with coast-to-coast representation and an equitable gender distribution. The focus of this group, after much discussion and input from Indigenous peoples, is education and awareness and creating relationships.

Another way for non-Indigenous peoples to deepen their understanding of Indigenous culture is to visit an Indigenous community and/or a local friendship centre. Some places have Pow Wows — a great way to learn about their dances, the heartbeat of the drum and the wisdom of an Indigenous Elder.

National Indigenous Peoples Day offers an opportunity to listen and learn. Take time to visit some Indigenous places. Talk and listen to the people. Only then can we, “understand the past and move forward together.”

To find out more about the HIP program visit

Chris Snyder is the author of several books and several hundred articles on personal finance, Chris’ most recent book "Creating Opportunities-A Volunteer's Memoir" describes a lifetime of volunteer experiences, much of it as an active member of the Rotary Club of Toronto and on many not-for-profit boards. Chris is past chair of the Canadian Landmine Foundation, founding chair/current chair of HIP (Honouring Indigenous Peoples) and the Trudeau Centre of Peace, Conflict and Justice as well as past board member of CUSO and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. His latest book, “Good News in A Crazy World,” will be published by Civil Sector Press in 2024.

Like this article?  Join our mailing list for more great information!

Copyright © 2011-Current, The Hilborn Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

Free Fundraising Newsletter
Join Our Mailing List