Links for June 16, 2024

Your Social Justice Collective asks you to note that the 20th is World Refugee Day, which promotes empathy and understanding, fostering compassion and solidarity towards those forced to flee their homes. What can we do? Advocate for change. Urge governments and individuals to take action to support refugees and uphold their rights. This year’s theme is “Finding Freedom: Family”. The 21 st is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day when we recognize and celebrate the unique cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada. June is National Indigenous History Month – a time to honour the stories, achievements and resilience of those who have lived on this
land since time immemorial and whose presence impacts evolving Canada. The best way to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences is through their own voices. Enjoy Indigenous storytelling by picking up a book, attending a show, watching a movie or listening to music from Indigenous artists. Throughout the month, individuals, communities and organizations will showcase First Nations, Inuit and Métis historic figures, leaders and cultures on social media with the hashtag NIHM2024. Stay connected and share what resonates with you! Explore the past and honour the truth.

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time for us to learn about the unique cultures, experiences, and traditions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis As well as June there are other important dates that recognize and bring awareness to Indigenous people in Canada:

National Ribbon Skirt Day – January 4 This day originates with the story of Isabella Kulak, a member of Cote First Nation, who was shamed for wearing her handmade ribbon skirt to a formal wear day at her elementary school. Traditionally worn by First Nations and Métis peoples, ribbon skirts are a meaningful symbol of identity, resilience, and survival for Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people, and represents a direct connection to Mother Earth. Isabella’s story shines a light on the enduring injustices, racism, and discrimination faced by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada every day, and on the importance of the role we all have to play in reconciliation.

National Indigenous Languages day – March 31 This is a day to celebrate and honour Indigenous languages in Canada. The decade from 2022 to 2032 is also the International Decade of Indigenous Languages to promote the use of Indigenous languages world-wide.
Learn more about Indigenous Languages Day

National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Peoples (MMIWG2SLGBTQQIA+) – May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Peoples (MMIWG2SLGBTQQIA+). This day is also known as Red Dress Day with respect to Jaime Black’s REDress art installation which helped inspire the red dress movement. On May 5th, many people across North America hang red dresses in private and public spaces to remember those who are missing and murdered. Learn more about MMIWG2SLGBTQQIA+ by reading the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Final Report.
National Day of Awareness for MMIWG2SLGBTQQIA+ is a non-statutory holiday. Learn more about the REDress art installation

Orange Shirt Day/ National Day of Truth and Reconciliation September 30: Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad’s experience at the St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in the 1970s. The “orange shirt” in Orange Shirt Day refers to the new shirt that was given to Webstad by her grandmother for her first day of school. When Phyllis got to school, they took away her clothes, including her new shirt. It was never returned. To Phyllis, the colour orange has always reminded her of her experiences at residential school and, as she has said, “how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

Treaty Day October 1: In 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the Treaty of 1752 was still strong and called upon Her Majesty to honour the Treaty and others made with the Mi’kmaw nation.
In 1986, the then Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. proclaimed every October 1st as Treaty Day. It commemorates the key role of treaties in the relationship between the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq and the Crown. The annual ceremony reaffirms the historic presence of the Mi’kmaw who have occupied the land for thousands of years. The Mi’kmaq Nation and the crown also exchange gifts to mark each October 1st. By celebrating Treaty Day, we are giving thanks to the Mi’kmaw and the Crown for signing treaties of peace and friendship. People continue to gather in Halifax on October 1st to participate and enjoy various cultural events in celebration of Treaty Day. It is a reunion for many Mi’kmaq and a time for people to learn a part of Nova Scotia’s 12,000 year-old history.
Treaty Day – Mi’kmaw History Month (
Days of Significance | Office of Indigenous Relations (

National Indigenous Veterans Day November 8: This day is observed in recognition of Indigenous contributions to military service, particularly in the First World War, Second World War and the Korean War. It is estimated that more than 7,000 Indigenous people served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, and an unknown number of Inuit, Métis and other Indigenous people also served. Many Indigenous people also currently continue to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada and on operations around the world. They continue to uphold the proud legacy of service of past generations.

People in Gaza are experiencing utter destruction, loss of lives, and inhumane conditions without access to basic necessities for life. Famine is imminent. Children are particularly impacted. Our faith and our humanity calls us to act now to ensure an end to the conflict.

It will take all of our efforts to get the Government of Canada to do everything in its power to help bring an end to the conflict and to not be complicit in genocide and famine.

Please join us in action: advocate, join a pilgrimage, pray, and donate. The United Church of Canada’s Mission and Service partners are responding to those impacted by the conflict in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They will rapidly expand their activity into Gaza and provide aid when a safe humanitarian corridor opens.

The United Church is working with Mission and Service partners ACT Alliance and Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees(opens in a new tab) (DSPR). As a member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, we are also working with Foodgrains Bank partners on the ground to offer lifesaving support to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Gaza.