Indigenous History & Culture in Niagara

Indigenous History & Culture in Niagara

In Canada, June is National Indigenous History Month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. 

In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

The Niagara Region was a place of awe and wonder for the Indigenous peoples who first walked this land. Their ancestors’ footsteps arrived approximately 13,000 years ago as the melting glaciers retreated northward, revealing the great lakes of Erie and Ontario and the mighty Niagara River.

Indigenous Month Programming

The Strawberry Moon

The Strawberry Moon coincides with the summer solstice, marking the last full moon of spring or the first full moon of summer. It's name originated from Indigenous communities and its relation to the strawberry harvest and the unique colour of the moon at this time of year; the moon's light travels through more atmosphere during the solstice.

The Strawberry Moon has long had significance to Indigenous communities and the Matriarch Circle. The strawberry is known as the “heart berry” because of its shape and is symbolic of life and health. In celebration of the Strawberry Moon many Indigenous communities gather for an annual feast that symbolizes starting afresh and letting go of judgement and self-righteousness.   

On the evening of June 14, 2022, just after sunset, the full moon will rise above the horizon and will appear large and golden hued. 

Discover the rich Indigenous history and culture of Niagara Falls with these experiences:

Indigenous Niagara Living Museum Tour

With a launch planned for 2022 (TBC), Indigenous Niagara Living Museum Tours will be the Niagara Region’s first guided Indigenous tour operation. Featuring animated encounters and engagements with Indigenous peoples, cultural interpreters, historians, food specialists, and artisans, the tours will create meaningful and memorable experiences that last a lifetime.

Learn more

Visit the Landscape of Nations in Queenston Heights

The Landscape of Nations is a living memorial dedicated to the contributions and sacrifices made by Six Nations and Native Allies on Queenston Heights and throughout the War of 1812. The memorial also recognizes the historic ceremony of peace and reconciliation held in Niagara on August 31 and September 1, 1815 that restored peace among the Native nations who fought on opposing sides.

Learn more

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