Canada celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day on the summer solstice, June 21, during National Indigenous History Month. This day is a celebration of the diversity of Indigenous Peoples across our country and an opportunity for non-Indigenous Canadians to learn more about the culture, history, voices, and experiences of the First Peoples of Turtle Island.

Across the United Way Centraide network, community experts support Indigenous stakeholders and agencies to bring culturally-specific and sensitive programming to communities. We’ve gathered just some of those stories for you:

Sewing Together in Labrador

Mary Jane is a client of the Nukum Munik Shelter, from the Sheshatshiu First Nation in northern Labrador. The Nukum Munik shelter is a safe place for women and children fleeing domestic abuse that offers a variety of programs and classes as part of their work to help uplift and strengthen their community.
One of the programs that the shelter runs is “Sewing Together and Healing the Hurt.” The program teaches women of the community how to sew and to be able to make their own traditional clothing for ceremonies and other events.

Mary Jane told us about her experience with the program: “I like to wear traditional clothes when we do ceremonies, or when we go to a wedding or other events here in the community. I used to have a traditional outfit many years ago, but I can’t use it anymore. Thanks to the sewing classes I have learned how to make many different things like skirts, vests, tea dolls, quilting, native gloves and native boots. I have made plenty of things for my family, the house, and myself. I enjoy sewing now. When I am bored, I get together with other women and we sew in a group. I am teaching other women too. I am very happy and proud of all the things that I am making.”

Here are some other stories from across Canada:

  1. How Healing Lodges help Indigenous women rebuild their lives
  1. Land acknowledgements: uncovering an oral history of Tkaronto
  1. Sanctified Kindness with Reg and Rose Crowshoe – learning about the Blackfoot concepts around reconciliation, kindness, racism and love
  2. An indigenous perspective on mental health


United Way Centraide Canada is committed to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Many of our staff have been taking the Indigenous History course offered by the University of Alberta. Recently, we hired Mindy Smith as the National Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion & Indigenous Collaboration. Mindy Smith is a Mi’kmaw woman living on Algonquin territory, who brings a unique combination of over twenty years in strategic policy insight as well as Indigenous engagement and lived experience. In the next few months, Mindy will be implementing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Indigenous Collaboration strategy for UWCC and supporting our members through their journeys, as well as establishing a UWC Diversity Council and more.

Read more about our commitment to reconciliation.