Digital image of a bmx helmet with the word "Skoden" Woodland POP! Quinn Hopkins Digital Print. Image courtesy of Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

Celebrating National Indigenous History Month

June 16, 2022

All throughout Ontario there are festivals, events and celebrations honouring National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21). To celebrate, support local Indigenous events and experience the vibrant Indigenous arts scene happening in communities across this province.

A note on ceremonies: when you attend, you may not be able to take photographs of certain ceremonies, like pow wows or sacred celebrations. Each event’s protocols will differ and can be found at the organization’s website, linked within our article.

Murals on a wall
Photo courtesy of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie.

Summer Moon Festival

Sault Ste. Marie (Northern Ontario), June 21-25, 2022

Throughout this 5-day festival, you’ll catch the real-time creation of large-scale public art, a dance performance, and live music performances from SHAD, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Skratch Bastid. While here, you can also enjoy artist workshops from industry professionals and community members, as well as Northern Ontario’s largest Indigenous market.

A person wearing a cultural outfit in front of an audience
Courtesy of Wikwemikong Tourism.

Anishinaabe Giizhgad

Manitoulin Island (Northern Ontario), June 21, 2022

Join Wiikwemkoong in celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day and the vibrant culture and people of Odawa M’nis (Manitoulin Island). This day of education and cultural learning will have food, art, powwow, live music and fireworks, as well as a marketplace with local vendors and science exhibits in The Great Northern Ontario Roadshow Pavilion.

Digital image of a bmx helmet with the word "Skoden"
Woodland POP! Quinn Hopkins Digital Print. Image courtesy of Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

Woodland POP!

Thunder Bay (Northern Ontario), June 24, 2022

This group exhibition at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery presents new expressions of Woodland Style. From visual art, digital painting, and NFTs, to 2spirit and queer aesthetics, tattooing, and contemporary beading, the exhibit features 11 emerging and mid-career contemporary Indigenous artists: Blake Angeconeb, Christian Chapman, Michel Dumont, Shelby Gagnon, Sharon Goodison, Quinn Hopkins, Bree Island, Ryan Pooman, Fallon Simard, Rihkee Strapp, and Jonathan Thunder.

For where to eat, stay and shop while in Thunder Bay, keep our ON Culture Guide to the city on hand.

someone holding up their hands
Production still from Rocko and Nakota: Tales from the Land. Photo courtesy of Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival

Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival (NIFF)

Peterborough (Eastern Ontario), June 21 – 26, 2022

Enjoy theatre, dance, music, comedy and more at this fringe festival for Indigenous performers. The festival spans five days, four outdoor sites (near the Enwaayang Building at Trent University), and one indoor space.

NIFF differentiates itself with a commitment to the development and transmission of cultural knowledge and creative practices. They do this through mentorships and workshops on playwriting, direction, storytelling, performance and community collaboration with experienced teaching artists. 100% of box office proceeds go directly to performers.

And while you’re in the electric city, explore more with ON Culture Guide of Peterborough.

Indigenous Day Celebration: Native Canadian Centre of Toronto

Toronto (Greater Toronto Area Ontario), June 21, 2022

Between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Yonge-Dundas Square there will be free concerts from over 15 performers, including fiddlers, hoop dancers and Juno Award-winning musicians. Then later, join Derek Miller and Gary Farmer at Ashbridges Bay Park for a concert and drone show at 8 p.m.

2 children speaking into a microphone
Photo courtesy of Mādahòkì Farm / Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. Photo copyright Andre R. Gagne.

Mādahòkì Farm Summer Solstice Festival

Ottawa (Eastern Ontario), June 21-26, 2022

Education days, competition pow wows, and culinary experiences are only a sliver of what this summer solstice festival offers!

Hosted on Mādahòkì Farm (4420 West Hunt Club Road), a spectacular new tourism experience and gathering place in Ottawa’s Greenbelt, is also the home to a year-round Indigenous marketplace and a growing herd of endangered Ojibwe Spirit Horses. Mādahòkì, which means “to share land” in Anishinaabe, builds on the growing interest in agritourism, farm-to-table culinary experiences and authentic cultural experiences from an Indigenous perspective.

Indigenous Solidarity Day Sunrise Ceremony

London (Southwestern Ontario), June 21, 2022

In the heart of Wortley Village, this in-person event will feature a Sunrise Ceremony, singers, dancers, food, vendors, and more. A celebration of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, this family-friendly celebration begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 10 a.m.

Other Resources

Government of Ontario news release on National Indigenous History Month.

Ontario’s Southwest’s guide to Indigenous Tourism in the region.