National Indigenous Peoples Day: Events by NWT community

Last modified: June 20, 2022 at 9:41pm


Tuesday marks National Indigenous Peoples Day, celebrating and honouring the original stewards of the land, including Dene, Inuvialuit and Métis communities in the NWT.

A variety of family-friendly celebrations, ranging from barbecues to performances and arts markets, are planned in communities across the territory.

Below, find a guide to events happening in the NWT.

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Are we missing an event or is there an amendment we should make? Tell us by email before 11am on Tuesday and we’ll add it in.

Beaufort Delta

Inuvik – Gather with family and friends at Jim Koe Park. Food will be provided from 12pm, including a fish fry, potatoes, hamburgers, hotdogs, smoked tea, water and juice. Hosted by the Gwich’in Tribal Council in collaboration with the Town of Inuvik, Parks Canada, Inuvialuit Community Corporation, Inuvik Native Band and Nihtat Gwich’in Council.

Aklavik – The Hamlet of Aklavik will be hosting a cookout and jam session in collaboration with the Aklavik Indian Band and Aklavik Community Corporation. Join in at the Sittichinli Complex from 2pm. Food provided includes potato salad, macaroni salad, pork chops, burgers, smokies and hotdogs.

Dehcho

Sambaa K’e – Sambaa K’e has been holding combined National Indigenous Peoples Day and Father’s Day celebrations since June 18. Festivities have included traditional demonstrations by Elders at the culture camp and traditional meals, door prizes, three-legged races and egg races, kids fishing and kickball.

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Tuesday’s celebrations kick off at 8:30am with a pancake breakfast, a cash prize competition for traditional activities (log splitting, tea boiling and so on) and a canoe race. For kids, there will be a Skittle challenge, a balloon-and-cup race and a stick-pull challenge. Residents are welcome to join a 7pm community BBQ. 

West Point First Nation – West Point will be holding a BBQ as well as adult and youth events from 3pm-5pm. All are welcome.

Nahanni Butte/Nahɂą Dehé Dene Band – While plans have been hampered by last week’s flood alert, the recreation team is planning a Tuesday night BBQ.

Fort Simpson/Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation – LKFN festivities will open with a sunrise ceremony at the monument across from the Pentecostal Church, as well as a pancake breakfast at the rec centre, both starting at 8am. There will then be a fire-feeding ceremony at 10am at the Arbour. 

From 11:30am until 1:30pm, LKFN will host a community BBQ at the Arbour. Jigging with Joe Villeneuve and a jam session will follow from 1:30-3:30pm at the campground kitchen. 

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The swimming pool will be open for free swimming from 2pm-3pm. The day will end at 8pm with a drum dance hosted by the Fort Simpson Drummers. 

Fort Liard/Acho Dene Koe – Despite the past week’s tragedy involving hiker Anthony McLaughlin, band members are proceeding – with permission from family members – with previously planned celebrations.

Festivities will begin with a pancake breakfast at the Liard Fuel Centre and continue with a fire-feeding ceremony, games for kids and adults and hand games inside the Arbour, with traditional food and a BBQ available all day. Vendors will be selling wares in the recreation centre from 3-5pm. The day will conclude with baseball and a drum dance.

Fort Providence/Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation – Events begin with a fishing derby from 11am (register at the Arbour) then lunch at the Arbour at 12pm. Cultural demonstrations from 1pm till 3pm include moose hair tufting, quill and bead work, and hand games. At the same time, a baseball game will take place.

From 2pm till 5pm, cultural events at the Arbour include fish filleting and bannock on a stick. A community feast begins at the same venue at 6pm, followed by hand games and a drum dance, with prizes throughout. Events are sponsored by the Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation, Fort Providence Métis Council, Fort Providence Hamlet Council and the GNWT.

North Slave

Yellowknife – The  North Slave Métis Alliance will be hosting its annual fish fry and stage show at Sombe K’e Civic Plaza. The event is free. You can enjoy traditional Métis, Inuit and First Nations food, music and dance. Food includes Great Slave whitefish, bannock, beans, and corn on the cob. Attendees can visit a variety of Indigenous arts and crafts booths.

From 3pm till 9pm at the Wiilideh site, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation will host activities including feeding the fire, sewing tents, canoe races, hide tanning, duck plucking and balloon toss.

Tlicho

Behchokǫ̀ – The Tłı̨chǫ Government has planned a variety of events. On the baseball field at the sportsplex, attendees can join in a potato sack race, duck plucking, log splitting and more. Participants can also enjoy a fishing derby, mini carnival and scavenger hunt, with a community BBQ available all afternoon.

Whatì – Events begin with a BBQ at the community cross at 1pm, followed by activities like tea boiling, log splitting, bow and arrow, checkers, moss ball and a canoe race.

South Slave

Hay River – The Town of Hay River will be holding a full day of events, starting with a flag-raising ceremony at the fire hall. The friendship centre is hosting a BBQ and fish fry complete with bouncy castles, bubbles, water guns, and other family-friendly games. There is an alternative BBQ at the Hay River Territorial Park. 

Additionally, the Kole Crook Fiddle Association is hosting an Aboriginal Day Music Walk in the afternoon on Main Street, and there will be a pop-up art sale at Golden Tamarack Wellness in Godwin Mall all day, featuring original art by Sarah Slade.

Kátł’odeeche First Nation – The Kátł’odeeche First Nation will host a pancake breakfast at the KFN Complex followed by a parade starting at the Arbour. Children and youth-friendly events will begin at 11am, and adult events will be available from 1pm onward, both at the Arbour. 

There will be a display of interactive traditional skills in the afternoon including storytelling, bannock-making, drumming, drymeat making, crafts, and fish filleting. The day will conclude with a BBQ and drum dance.

Fort Smith – The Fort Smith Metis Council’s events all take place at the Fort Smith Arena Grounds, starting at 10am with an opening ceremony including remarks from Chief Poitras, an Elder’s prayer and a lighting the fire ceremony. 

Afterward, there will be a bouncy house, face painting, and other family-friendly activities available, along with games and races with prizes. The Dene Drummers and Dancers will perform a drum dance demonstration at noon, followed by an afternoon feast of stew, bannock, hamburgers, and more. The afternoon will feature activities including a scavenger hunt, putting contest, and an egg toss for youth aged 13-17. The day will end with a community drum dance.

Sahtu

Norman Wells – The Norman Wells Land Corporation will be hosting a community feast at the town’s arena starting at 1pm.

Colville Lake – With Sahtu Day coming up on June 23, recreation director Isabel Orlias has planned a three-day event kicking off with a lunchtime cookout on June 21. The games and activities to follow will include target shooting, a fishing derby, a volleyball tournament, skeet shooting, a canoe race, nail pounding, archery, “Dene gourmet” food cooked over fires, and a number of relay games.

Edited by Amelia Eqbal with contributions from the Cabin Radio newsroom.