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June 21, National Aboriginal Day

Proclaimed in 1996

June 21 was first proclaimed in 1996 as an annual occasion to recognize the diverse cultures and outstanding contributions to Canada of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Collectively these groups make up the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

The date was selected for several reasons, including the fact that it coincides with the summer solstice.

In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be celebrated on June 21. In 1995, a similar recommendation was made by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. It called for a National First Peoples Day to be designated.

Also in 1995, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, known as The Sacred Assembly, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canada. The first National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed by the Governor General the following year.

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