By Emily Hall
Canada Summer Jobs Position
National Indigenous People’s Day is June 21st and celebrates the heritage, cultural diversity and achievements of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. Canada’s Governor General proclaimed the first National Indigenous Peoples Day 23 years ago in 1996. It is celebrated as a local holiday throughout the Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut whilst being observed in the rest of the country. Today there are many events happening across the country, such as language lessons, blanket festivals & feasts, viewings of short films created by Indigenous Canadians and various ceremonies.
Photographer George Hunter was sent to observe and record one of the eleven Inuit groups during the winter of 1946 located in Baker Lake, NWT, where the average temperature in June is only eight degrees. Located 320 km inland from Hudson Bay, it is near the nation's geographical centre, and is known for being the Canadian Arctic's sole inland community. The series developed from this expedition was called “Views of the North”, which focuses on the daily interactions, schooling and family lives of the Indigenous Peoples. Baker Lake was given its English name in 1761, whereas Baker Lake’s Inuktitut name is Qamani’tuaq, which means “ where the river widens”.
National Indigenous People’s day is important for everyone in Canada to celebrate regardless of their cultural background. It is a way to support and connect with Indigenous communities across Canada and allows Indigenous communities like the ones in Baker Lake to be remembered and celebrated.