Everyday is Indigenous Peoples Day
June, in my language “Wipazukha-waste-wi,” which translates to the moon of good berries or moon when juneberries are good. The Lakota followed the seasons, they did not follow a twelve month system. They tracked each season by following the moon and when “Wipazukha-waste-wi” came, they knew that the berries were ready for harvest. This meant summer (June).
In today’s modern time, June holds an all new meaning. Each Indigenous tribe across Turtle Island (North America) carries their own stories and meaning for the month of June but today, we come together and recognize it as National Indigenous Awareness Month.
June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day: a day that honors and respects all Indigenous (First Nation, Metis and Inuit) cultures, traditions, contributions, practices and beliefs. It is a day to celebrate and embrace our perseverance, strength, wisdom, knowledge, success and our resilience.
It is a day to honor who we are, to honor our ancestors, to honor our elders, to honor our children, to honor the land and most importantly, to honor and celebrate our contributions to Canada. It is a day to acknowledge each other’s ways and be the support we seek. This day brings Indigenous people together and unites one of the strongest forces within Canada.
Why June 21st? Summer Solstice. For anyone living North of the equator, June 21st is the longest day of 2019. Indigenous people around the world have celebrated this day for thousands of years. Summer Solstice is a time of renewal and replenishment. On this day we give our thanks to the Creator for the life giver the Sun. And with Summer we begin preparation for many important ceremonies. For the Lakota, it is Sundance.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for both Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people. On this day we share our culture and heritage, giving others the opportunity to learn more about our history, who we are and our existence in today’s modern society. Implemented as an act of reconciliation, this day is set out to initiate reconciliation amongst all Canadians.
To me, everyday is Indigenous Peoples Day. We, as Indigenous people, should not need a day to bring us all together. I wish nothing more than to stand in solidarity at all times. We should be working together, not against one another; lifting each other up, not bring each other down. We have enough people, institutions, colonial systems and other forces trying to bring us down and keep us down. We should not be adding ourselves to the list. It hurts when I see our own people pulling our own people down. Our oppressors and colonizers fear the day we no longer fight one another, stand in solidarity and fight for the real cause. So instead, they have orchestrated what is called the Crabs in the Bucket mentality. We are not crabs. We are none of the things they have made us to be. We are strong, resilient, intelligent warriors. Our Ancestors did not fight nor sacrifice the things they did for us to live in distraction from our purpose as a nation. They got us here today and it is our duty to continue what they could not. It is time for us to be The Ancestors that future generations will call on