In June, Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, culture and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to recognize the strength and resilience of present-day Indigenous communities. June 21st is National Indigenous People’s Day and it is also the summer solstice – the longest day of the year and a traditional day of celebration marking the end of winter, longer days, and renewed life. The phenomenon of the summer solstice is due to the tilt of the Earth. In June, the North Pole is tilted most directly toward the Sun, giving those in the northern hemisphere longer day light hours.
For thousands of years, Indigenous Peoples across Canada have been using the stars and the sky as a means of navigation, measuring time, and tracking seasons. Much of this knowledge is translated and shared through stories. The Anishinaabek, the Indigenous people native to the Greater Sudbury area, draw connections between constellations and seasonal changes, as told in sky stories. Sky stories may tell of seasonal changes, harvests or animal migrations that occur during the season when a specific constellation is overhead. Indigenous knowledge and western science may be seen as separate but are merely different ways of understanding the same natural phenomena.
With restrictions on public gatherings this year, people are encouraged to attend a virtual event, educate yourself, explore some Indigenous made films, or read books by Indigenous authors and join the conversation online using #IndigenousReads.