How to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in B.C.

Friday marks National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, a day to acknowledge and honour the history and culture of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

Communities across the province have special events planned to celebrate the day.

CBC has also scheduled programming on CBC TV and CBC Gem throughout the month to showcase Indigenous stories and talent.

Here's how you can celebrate in your community.


A street party is planned at the Carnegie Community Centre in the Downtown Eastside at noon, starting with a welcome from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

Performances from Indigenous singers and dancers, crafts, smudging and community gathering will follow through the afternoon. The event is free and open to the public.

Hundreds of people attended a festival to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day at Trout Lake in Vancouver.
Hundreds of people attend a festival to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day at Trout Lake in Vancouver in 2019. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Later that night, a Hotlatch — a fun take on the traditional potlatch ceremony featuring Indigenous Queer DJs, performers and drag artists — will entertain ticketholders at The Birdhouse in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.  The evening's events begin at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

For those unable to make it out on Friday, a Downtown Eastside Powwow is set for Sunday, June 23, in Oppenheimer Park. Starting at noon, community members will gather for an afternoon of cultural celebration and to honour those lost at residential schools, their families and residential school survivors. This event is free and open to the public.

Vancouver Island

Royal Roads University has lined up a full slate of performances and activities to celebrate local Indigenous culture, including dancers, singers, drummers, crafts, Indigenous food and more. The event runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the university located at 2005 Sooke Road in Colwood.

At 10:40, a traditional canoe landing protocol practice will be held, led by Lekwungen (Songhees) Nation Elder Butch Dick. Traditional plant walks led by Cowichan Elder Kenneth Elliott will take place throughout the day.

Mid-island, the Nanaimo Art Gallery is hosting and featuring Indigenous artisans who will be selling their wares and connecting with the community. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society is hosting its annual Turtle Island Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Leon Avenue in Kelowna on Friday. The 400 block of Leon Avenue, between Pandosy and Ellis Streets, will be closed to traffic all day, including before and after the event.

Métis Community Services of B.C. is holding a Métis Rendezvous event at Kelowna's City Park from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event includes food, hoop dancing, face painting, a drumming circle and more.


Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services, Two Rivers Métis Society and ASK Wellness Society are hosting an event at Riverside Park starting at 10 a.m., including bingo, face painting, musical performances and vendors.

Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc is hosting an aerial light show as part of its celebrations this year. The event, which takes place at the Special Events Facility at 345 Powwow Trail, kicks off at 4:00 p.m. PT and includes food trucks, traditional drumming, singing and dancing.

Prince George

Indigenous artisans, musicians, drummers and dancers are set to be part of the National Indigenous Peoples Day in Prince George.

The event runs from 12 p.m. PT until 8 p.m. PT in Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park.

Indigenous dancers in northern B.C. during an  All Clans Feast put on by Carrier Sekanni Family Services in 2015 to demonstrate and teach about potlatch.
Indigenous dancers in northern B.C. during an All Clans Feast put on by Carrier Sekanni Family Services in 2015 to demonstrate and teach about potlatch. (Carrier Sekanni Family Services/Contributed )

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Exploration Place will be offering admission by donation in recognition of the day. It also happens to be opening day for the Spirit Bear and Children Make History exhibit, which addresses the inequities faced by First Nations children.

Prince Rupert

On B.C.'s North Coast, the 26th annual National Indigenous Day celebration will begin at noon and run until 8 p.m. PT at the Prince Rupert Rotary Waterfront. If weather gets in the way, celebrations will be moved inside to the Civic Centre Arena.

The event will feature musical performances by local Indigenous artists and cultural dancers, as well as activities for kids.

We know we've missed many great events happening provincewide, so check your local municipal website or check in with your nearest First Nation to find out what's happening near you.