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National Indigenous History Month: From how it began to how BGCO is celebrating in 2024.

Published on:
June 14, 2024
June 14, 2024

Every June since 2009,Canadians have celebrated National Indigenous History Month. 

It’s a time to recognize the rich history, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis with celebrations and events across the country.

How did it all begin?

A simple letter and email writing campaign by Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway, then-President of the ReginaAboriginal Professionals Association, and her husband.

They knew there was a level or depression and oppression in their community, and they wanted to do something positive about it. Something bigger and more meaningful than NationalIndigenous Peoples Day.

With the success of BlackHistory Month across Canada, BigEagle-Kequahtooway thought Indigenous youth could benefit from a similar awareness campaign and national celebration. A month to celebrate Indigenous achievements, artists, musicians, storytellers, matriarchs, elders and more.

Their campaign first succeeded in Regina and then the province of Saskatchewan in 2007. It took less than two years for a motion to pass in the House of Commons, receiving unanimous consent in 2009 to designate June National Aboriginal History Month(changed to National Indigenous History Month in 2017).

In the words of BigEagle-Kequahtooway “June is about recognizing the achievements of Indigenous people, but also understanding what happened on this land before we can even get to reconciliation. We need to talk about some of the truths that have happened in the past to understand why we are where we’re at.”

How does BGC Ottawa celebrate?

BGC Ottawa acknowledges that Indigenous children and youth continue to face barriers, and we work to dismantle them by providing access to free programs and services to all young people in our community. The Club provides programs like ABC Club, Art Now, Debate Club and our Diversity Library to allow our Indigenous Members a place to discuss important topics, and a place for non-Indigenous Members to learn and build understanding.

BGC Ottawa provides safe, supportive places where all kids and teens, of all backgrounds, can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, and develop confidence and skills for life. We achieve this through representation in our staff, the resources we provide and specific training so we can better support our Members and their families.

The Club is committed to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). We acknowledge and appreciate our Indigenous Family, and we celebrate and honour their contributions to the organization, our city and society.

Throughout the month, we will continue to celebrate in our Clubhouses by sharing stories, offering fun-filled activities with an educational focus, treating Members to Indigenous dishes during snack time, watching short videos and listening to a wide range of music.

Recognizing Indigenous People and their Traditional Lands is one of the most important acts of reconciliation. It is a way to honour Indigenous People and something BGC Ottawa practices year-round. All Board, staff and group meetings, in addition to our events, begin with a Land Acknowledgement, and from time-to-time we invite an Indigenous Cultural Expert, Knowledge Keeper or Elder into our spaces to provide a welcome.


Help us continue to open the doors and ensure they remain open.

At home, we encourage everyone to look, listen and learn. There are numerous resources available to all that can help educate you on Canada’s Indigenous History and what it means today: 

 It’s also important to get your children involved – they are our future!

For our Indigenous Members and families, we want you to feel involved and connected. Our community has a multitude of resources, activities and events available to you, and here’s a short list: 

BGC Ottawa recognizes the importance of Indigenous history today and every day. To learn more about our EDI work, visit

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