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Celebrate National Indigenous History Month + National Indigenous Peoples Day

President's Office
By Emily Carr University

Posted on June 01, 2023 | Updated June 13, 2023, 11:17am

Filed in Faculty, Staff, Students

A message from Connie Watts, Associate Director of Aboriginal Programs, and Trish Kelly, Interim President + Vice-Chancellor

Dear ECU Community,

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada and June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a time to learn about the rich cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who have lived throughout these lands since time immemorial.

While the work of reconciliation and decolonization must be incorporated into our day-to-day lives, these annual occasions create an opportunity to consciously carve out time to deepen our understanding of how history continues to shape the present. More than that, these occasions invite us to harness the present to help shape a better future.

Looking around the province, we see a place characterized by an unparalleled diversity of Indigenous histories, cultures and languages. There are more than 200 First Nations in BC. More than 34 First Nation languages are spoken in the province. This is more than half of all First Nation languages in Canada. A number of other Indigenous languages are also spoken here, such as Michif, the Métis language and Inuktitut.

How do we begin to explore such incredible diversity?

In truth and reconciliation, we begin by looking for the truth. And we can find that truth right where we stand. Indigenous cultures and languages connect to the land across every part of this country. We can learn about what that means locally. The places we work, live and spend our time all have dynamic, living histories. These are our unique connections.

Whether we’re settlers or Indigenous to the land, when we learn about our place within these histories and build from there, we are strengthening our community. We are deepening our connection to the Nations on whose territories we live as guests, to our neighbours and to the land itself.

We are also engaging in the practice of open, respectful interrelation that created the extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity that continues to evolve throughout Indigenous communities, and by which Host Nations around the country welcome settlers and newcomers to their territories.

To that end, we’ve put together a handful of resources to mark the occasion and help bring even greater meaning to your celebrations. You can find them below.

We’d also like to extend an open invitation to join us in joyful celebration of the incredible Indigenous creativity and material practices happening right here within the ECU community. To celebrate Indigenous History Month, the Aboriginal Gathering Place is launching its first Indigenous Art Market featuring more than a dozen artists and designers from the ECU community and local area. On June 8, 9 and 10, you’ll be able to experience art and design work, chat with the artists and experience living knowledge. You can read more about the event online. We hope to see you there!


Connie Watts, Associate Director, Aboriginal Programs

Trish Kelly, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor