More than 1.4 million people in Canada identify themselves as an Indigenous person. As a newcomer to Canada, it is important to learn about Canada’s three distinct groups of Indigenous peoples — First Nations, Inuit and Métis — all with unique histories, languages, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs. Here are 5 ways to educate yourself on the vibrant and diverse cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Seek Out Free Courses to Learn About Indigenous Cultures
Many universities offer free courses on Indigenous history and cultures facilitated by an all-Indigenous teaching team. They explore the past and perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in Canada while providing further insight and analysis into national Indigenous-settler relations.
Participate in Indigenous Awareness Campaigns
Campaigns like National Indigenous History Month in June and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 are important reminders to recognize Indigenous people’s history, heritage, resiliency, and diversity and commit to action. Many organizations play an active role in raising awareness of and acknowledging Indigenous history to advance the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in workplaces.
Understand Land Acknowledgment
Indigenous peoples have traditionally delivered land acknowledgements before gatherings, ceremonies or events. Land acknowledgements recognize the Indigenous communities that initially inhabited the land or space where an event occurs. Learning about land acknowledgement is another way to educate yourself about Indigenous cultures, as it can help you learn more about the history of the Indigenous communities that once lived in the space you live, work or visit.
Visit Your Local Library
Libraries offer many learning resources about the history of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and their thriving cultures. They provide literary education through collections of Indigenous readings, including books that explore important elements of Canadian history, such as the traumas of residential school systems. Exciting works by Indigenous authors are available for both young and adult readers. Educating newcomer kids about Indigenous history and culture is another way to learn.
Browse Online Websites
There are plenty of resources online that can help you learn more about the Indigenous cultures in Canada. The National Film Board of Canada’s collection of Indigenous-made films is available to stream for free on their Indigenous Cinemas page. The platform offers old, new and classic movies in a variety of styles, including fiction, documentary, and animation.
The Royal Ontario Museum’s Indigenous Voices webinar series is available to celebrate and learn about Indigenous cultures. The program is designed for elementary and high school students and educators. It highlights distinct ancestral objects and offers activities to engage viewers. The program is free and ranges in topics from cultural dance to storytelling, and can be watched anytime online.
Campaigns like Every Child Matters and Orange Shirt Day can help educate you on Indigenous lives. Their website offers resources, event information, and different ways to support the campaign.
As newcomers to Canada, we encourage you to understand the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada.