May 30, 2024

By Danisse Neashit – Member of the AFP Quebec IDEA committee

Exploring the millennia-old cultural richness of the First Nations in your community is an excellent way to get involved!

Celebrated annually on June 21st, National Indigenous Peoples Day is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich cultures of the First Nations. This day is dedicated to recognizing and appreciating the contributions of Indigenous peoples to our society. But why do the IDEA Committee and AFP Quebec emphasize this day? It not only allows us to explore fascinating traditions but also mobilizes us against racism and discrimination.

How, you ask? By participating in an event organized in your area, you can help foster identity pride among First Nations members and play an active role in reconciliation.

Identity Pride: A Shield Against Racism

Identity pride is crucial in helping First Nations members confront racism and discrimination. Encouragement to explore and celebrate our culture fosters a strong sense of belonging and personal value. This pride enhances self-esteem and mental well-being, mitigating the harmful effects of racism on mental health.

When we are proud, it is also easier for us to build bridges, forge relationships, use our differences as strengths, and share them. This sharing helps to reduce ignorance, and it is ignorance that most often feeds racism.

In other words, through engaging with and learning about different cultures, we come to appreciate the differences and similarities that make us proud, unique, and authentic human beings.

A Shield to Adopt Early

This shield is essential for the flourishing of Indigenous youth. Pride in their identity equips young people to resist negative stereotypes and speak out against injustice. They become cultural ambassadors, educating others and promoting better intercultural understanding (Fraser et al., 2021; Hare et Pidgeon, 2011). Expressing pride at a young age also fosters openness to others and enables confident self-expression. These elements are crucial for youth development.

Thus, identity pride is not only a way to strengthen young people but also a powerful tool for building bridges between cultures and combating racism.

Why Participate in National Indigenous Peoples Day? And Where?

By participating in an activity on National Indigenous Peoples Day, you not only support First Nations youth but also enrich your own cultural understanding. These events are showcases of identity pride where Indigenous communities highlight their heritage with pride and enthusiasm.  It’s an opportunity to unite, celebrate, and promote a more inclusive society.

Why not mark this day by attending a nearby event? Whether it’s a traditional dance performance, craft workshop, or tasting Indigenous foods, each activity opens a door to a rich and vibrant culture.

Remember, these individuals are sharing a part of themselves, their identity. Participate in these activities with openness, curiosity, and reciprocity.

Here are some examples of activities you could attend:

In summary, National Indigenous Peoples Day is much more than just a day. It is an opportunity to discover, learn, celebrate, and engage in promoting Indigenous cultures. Join us in these celebrations, discover the cultural richness around you, and make a difference!

About the Author

Danisse Neashit, Head of Philanthropic Development and Communications at the New Pathways Foundation, is dedicated to its mission: to engage and support First Nations youth in Quebec in their well-being, individual and collective development, and fulfillment. With a strong combination of experience and training in digital marketing, tourism development, and customer relationship management, she uses her skills to enhance the foundation’s impact in favor of First Nations youth. Active within the IDEA Committee of AFP Quebec, Danisse is committed to inclusion and equity, finding personal fulfillment in the collaborations and encounters required in her role.

Sources :
Policies, practices and epistemologies creating racialized systems of care for Indigenous peoples. International Journal of Equity and Health. 20 (164). 

Hare, J., et Pidgeon, M. (2011). The way of the warrior: Indigenous youth navigating the challenges of schooling. Canadian Journal of Education, 34(2), 93-111.