This Sunday, June 21, is National Indigenous People’s Day.
It’s a day for celebrating the culture and heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people across the country. June 21 is also the Summer Solstice — a special day to celebrate bountiful gathering, family and local travel.
As social distancing restrictions limit our ability to organize an event to celebrate this occasion, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) invites everyone to celebrate this day in a different way this year.
TRU’s Kamloops campus is located on Tk’emlúps te Secwepémc territory, and the Williams Lake campus is on T’exelc (Williams Lake band) territory. TRU acknowledges the unceded Secwépemc territory on which both campuses are located on within Secwepemcúl’ecw. The university’s region extends into the territories of the Stat’imc, Nlaka’pamux, Nuxalk, Tsilhqot’in, Dakelh and we also welcome Métis people to our campus.
While recent major events have brought issues of diversity and race to the forefront, the university has long-standing relationships with Indigenous elders, leaders, students and communities. It has also undertaken Indigenization initiatives, such as the Coyote Project which drives forward changes to staffing and Indigenized curriculum, and Knowledge Makers, which encourages Indigenous-focused research, courses and programs.
From its beginning across the river in the old residential school to the immense training and learning space that is has become today, TRU has seen the world change and it has evolved along with it. One of the university’s main goals is to support Indigenization institution-wide.
National Indigenous People’s Day won’t be celebrated with any in-person TRU events on campus, but we would like to offer a few suggestions for those who want to celebrate this day in a different way this year.
The Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society is hosting an online celebration for everyone to join in: https://facebook.com/events/s/kafs-indigenous-peoples-day-ce/2725357284456966/?ti=as
Or please check out these other activities to undertake throughout the year: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/11-ways-to-virtually-celebrate-national-indigenous-peoples-day
We are happy to be on this learning journey with all of you and celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day with you in spirit!
Tina Matthew, Executive Director, Office of Indigenous Education,
Thompson Rivers University