This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to customize your browsing experience, and for analytics and metrics about our visitors on this website. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy.

Honoring National Indigenous Peoples Day

Reflecting on National Indigenous Peoples Day brings back memories of my childhood in a small town in northwestern Ontario.  As a young girl, I attended public school where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students studied together.  Every morning, the school buses arrived with Indigenous students from a residential school about 10 miles out of town.  We all went to class, played during recess, and formed teams without any distinction. At the end of the day, the Indigenous students would line up for the bus only to return the next day.  The rest of us went home.  And so it went.

However, as I entered adulthood, I began to grasp the gravity of the situation for those Indigenous students and their parents.  I learned that their daily routine of returning to the residential school every evening was part of a much deeper and more complex reality. It was a reality marked by the separation from their families, the loss of cultural practices, and the struggles faced within the residential school system.

As I delved into understanding Indigenous cultures, I discovered the profound love they have for themselves and their deep connection to their communities. Their heritage is rich with a culture of respect and appreciation for the land and all it has to offer. It became evident to me that their celebration of culture and heritage on June 21 or around the summer solstice holds great significance.

The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, is a time when Indigenous groups and communities have traditionally gathered to honor their traditions, ancestors, and the natural world. It is a time to celebrate the resilience and strength of Indigenous cultures, highlighting their deep connection to the land and their continued contributions to society.

Respect and Inclusion are some of the core values we embody at Winpak.  These values perfectly align with Winpak’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policy which provides the guiding principles for a company culture that celebrates diverse perspectives and encourages compassionate action.

Learning about Indigenous culture is an ongoing journey. I have begun that journey and I still have a lot to learn. National Indigenous Peoples Day provides us with an opportunity to learn about Indigenous traditions, history, beliefs, struggles, and the meaning of treaty rights and self-determination. Working at Brandon University exposed me to the Seven Sacred/Grandfather Teachings which is a set of teachings on human conduct towards others.  Each teaching honors one of the basic virtues of a full and healthy life.  You cannot have one virtue without the others.

To learn more about Indigenous cultures and National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, please explore the following resources:

Online resources: Various websites offer educational materials and information on Indigenous cultures. The Government of Canada's website provides resources on National Indigenous Peoples Day, including historical information and events happening across the country. Indigenous organizations and communities may also have their own websites or social media platforms where they share cultural knowledge and events.

Public events and celebrations: Check local listings for National Indigenous Peoples Day events in your area. Many cities and communities organize festivals, powwows, concerts, and art exhibitions that showcase Indigenous cultures and traditions.

I encourage everyone to participate in the various activities offered at their respective workplaces and in communities across Canada to increase your understanding and help celebrate Indigenous culture. Without understanding and knowledge, there will not be meaningful change.  By recognizing the profound connection of Indigenous people to the land and their enduring resilience, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Sharon  Hooper
Sharon Hooper
Vice President, Human Resources
Winnipeg, MB Canada

Submit a comment

{item.FirstName} {item.LastName}


{reply.FirstName} {reply.LastName}