Recognizing National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023

On June 1, the University of Toronto celebrates the beginning of National Indigenous History Month. On June 21, we also celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, which coincides with the summer solstice and affirms the traditional importance of this time for many Indigenous peoples and communities.

Strong advocacy from representatives of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities led to the creation of National Indigenous History Month in 2009 and National Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly National Aboriginal Day) in 1996. Both honour the distinct cultures of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and encourage widespread recognition of the accomplishments and resilience of Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island.

It is crucial that non-Indigenous members of our community make sustained efforts to learn about Indigenous histories, cultures, and protocols. The Office of Indigenous Initiatives supports this ongoing learning journey by offering trainings for students, staff, librarians, and faculty members. The OII also produces annual reports that identify the progress made and challenges still to be overcome as the University works to answer the 34 Calls to Action issued by Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin, the Report of the U of T Steering Committee for the University’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Collectively, these reports are essential reading for everyone who learns and works at the University of Toronto.

As a community, we can be proud of the work we are doing to expand Indigenous spaces on our campuses; to welcome more Indigenous students, faculty, librarians, and staff here than ever before; and to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing and doing more deeply into curricula and research across disciplines. We can find hope in the creation of new traditions, such as the introduction, one year ago, of the Eagle Feather Bearer role in all convocation ceremonies. This progress marks a positive evolution in the University’s relationship with the Indigenous U of T community today, and issues a promise to future generations of Indigenous students, faculty, librarians, and staff.

We need to build on this progress. The ongoing work of reconciliation requires all of us to work from a foundation of shared knowledge and understanding—together.

Training

To find training offered by the Office of Indigenous Initiatives to U of T students, librarians, faculty members, and staff: