June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, and a focal point of Indigenous History Month.
In 2021 we observe this day with a particular grief, as we mourn those children whose bodies were found in a mass unmarked grave at the site of a former Residential School in Kamloops. We grieve for the parents who never got to see those children come home from Residential School. We grieve for the generations of indigenous people who suffered, and still suffer, great trauma from the Residential School system. We grieve for our country, which will never be whole while the hard work of truth and reconciliation remains ahead of us.
We try at the same time, however, to use this day to celebrate the rich and beautiful lives of Indigenous people, their culture, history, art, wisdom, and more. We celebrate our First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples as Canadians. And most of all, together we celebrate our shared humanity.
Also known by such names as Freedom Day and Jubilee Day, Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the former Confederacy after the end of the American Civil War.
This year marks the first celebration of Juneteenth as an official Federal Holiday in the United States.
Juneteenth has grown to be a day that is observed in the US and around the world, as it symbolizes not only the fight against the evil that is slavery, but also the fight against racism in all its forms. Slavery finally came to end in the US in 1865, but racism lies at the heart of so many of the evils that still haunt the United States, Canada, and indeed, humanity. Current issues such as Black Lives Matter, Critical Race Theory, and on June 19th, the establishment of Juneteenth as an official holiday, are all just part of the ongoing and centuries old struggle against racism.
June is National Indigenous History Month, highlighted by National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. Visit us in the school library, live or online, and join with us as we celebrate and learn more about First Nations, Inuit and Metis history.
Asia is a big place. Really big. Today nearly 2 in 3 human beings live in Asia. That’s over 4 billion people. Asia is the biggest continent by area, divided into many regions and nearly 50 different countries.
Nearly 20% of Canadians trace their family heritage to Asia. Some are recent immigrants while some families have been here for generations. Canadians of Asian descent have brought a multitude of languages, beliefs, histories and cultural practices to contribute to Canada as we know it today.
During the month of May we will be celebrating the great contributions of Canadians of Asian Heritage to the development of our country. We will also look at the many contributions of Asian culture, art, food, history and more. We will see that Asia is an incredibly diverse place and has made incredibly diverse contributions to Canada.
Come down to the School Library to see some of our titles on display for Asian Heritage Month. Here are just a few:
Today is Earth Day. There are many ways to celebrate and observe this important day. Perhaps you can check out some of these books we have the look at Planet Earth. Find out more about our life on this planet, including ecosystems, climate change, and threats to our environment on this, our only home in the universe.
Although it is pretty insignificant in relation to the entire universe, less than a grain of sand in the ocean of space, the Earth is pretty important to us– it is the only home we have. All human beings should celebrate the Earth, and protect it.
Celebrate Earth Day tomorrow and every April 22. And celebrate life on Earth every day. Earth is the only planet we’ve got.
Sikhs in Canada and around the world celebrate Vaisakhi. Since 1699 Vaisakhi has been a central Holy Day for Sikhs, who celebrate the establishment of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the “Ten Gurus” of Sikhism.
The majority of Canadians who trace family connections to India are part of the Sikh faith, although Hinduism is the majority religion of India. Hindus in Canada and around the world also celebrate Vaisakhi. Also rendered Baisakhi, the holiday has long been observed by Hindus as the celebration of the solar New Year, and a harvest festival, for the people of the Punjab and other regions of north-west India. In fact Indians and people of Indian heritage from many faiths, including Muslims, Christians and even non-religious people, as well as Sikhs and Hindus, celebrate Vaisakhi.
Vaisakhi is generally celebrated on April 13 or 14, although some sources also suggest April 15 for 2021. Vaisakhi Parades in Canada are traditionally held on the nearest Saturday.
Vaisakhi parades and other gatherings and festivals have long been a highlight of the year for the Sikh communities of Surrey, Vancouver and other parts of Canada. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of Vaisakhi parades in 2021.