City of Toronto observes National Indigenous Peoples Month with Indigenous Arts Festival

Image: Indigenous Arts Festival Image credit: Indigenous Arts Festival Twitter page of City of Toronto

Toronto/CMEDIA: June was proclaimed today by Toronto Mayor John Tory who announced programming for the Indigenous Arts Festival and other City of Toronto events for National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21).

The City of Toronto acknowledges National Indigenous Peoples Month as a time to learn, reflect and celebrate the diversity of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples across Tkaronto and all of Turtle Island…to learn more about Indigenous histories, communities, and the contributions Indigenous peoples have made, their vibrant and distinct culture, and their beautiful languages,” said John Tory in a news release.

The Indigenous Arts Festival will take place on Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19 at Fort York National Historic Site; 250 Fort York Blvd. The festival is a free, community-focused event in celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music and dances, along with artisan and culinary experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples living across Turtle Island and Indigenous communities around the world.

Presented by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Na-Me-Res, Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin (They Feed the People), and the City, the Indigenous Arts Festival Program is made possible in part by the Government of Canada and sponsorships from Bell and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and media partner ELMNT FM.

Indigenous Arts Festival program lineup
  • Grand Entry and annual Na-Me-Res traditional Pow Wow with drummers and dancers from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 only
  • Live music performances on the ELMNT FM stage, including 2022 JUNO Award nominees Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music and Manitou Mkwa Singers
    Indigenous Artisans Market features a variety of Indigenous artisans curated by Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin (They Feed the People) in collaboration with Barb Nahwegahbow from Blue Dawn Consulting Inc.
  • Indigenous Food Market for a curated selection of Indigenous and Indigenous-fusion foods that will challenge the idea of festival foods – Sunday, June 19 only

On both days of the Indigenous Arts Festival, there would be available an exciting selection of food vendors offering a wide range of nutritious and delicious options with connections to Indigenous foodways, food sovereignty, and Elder and community wellness.

Beginning Wednesday, July 13, the Indigenous Food Market will continue weekly on Wednesdays at Fort York National Historic Site with music, talks, and performances.

Art installations on extended display
  • The poignant new video installation DISH DANCES by Ange Loft and Jumblies Theatre & ArtsExperience as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art could be experienced by the audience.
  • An expansion of ideas about the governance and sustainability of the land would be visible by combining music, song, and movement by the DISH DANCES.
  • A project of SKETCH Working Arts as Queering Place Earth Art Installation would engage 2SQTBIPOC artists in residence to plant and tend a medicine wheel garden that connects to planter installations in the four directions, with city-wide partners to nurture healing gathering spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ young people.
  • Created by Ogimaa Mikana Project (Susan Blight and Hayden King), Weweni Bizindan (Listen Carefully) is a large-scale public art installation that contributes to discussions of the animate nature of our language and the world around us. Weweni Bizindan was commissioned by The Bentway Conservancy and hosted by Fort York National Historic Site.
Additional National Indigenous Peoples Day events and commemorations
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day would be celebrated with the City’s annual Sunrise Ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday, June 21 at 5:30 a.m.
  • On the evening of June 21, the Toronto Sign will be illuminated red for National Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Through the Toronto History Museums’ Awakenings program, two Indigenous-focused films are available: A Portrait in Red, filmed at Todmorden Mills, and Acknowledgment, filmed at Fort York. Both films are part of the project We Were Always Here

More information and resources about National Indigenous Peoples Month and the traditional National Indigenous Peoples Day Sunrise Ceremony can be found on the City’s Indigenous Events, Commemoration & Awards webpage.

The City remains committed to advancing truth, justice, and reconciliation and is working closely with Indigenous partners to implement its first Reconciliation Action Plan. The plan can be read in full at

Toronto has the largest Indigenous population of more than 80,000 residents in Ontario and the fourth largest in Canada. The City’s Indigenous Affairs Office (IAO) is With a focus on supporting City divisions in their work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and all urban Indigenous communities. The office also strives to strengthen the City’s relationship with Indigenous communities and advance reconciliation. More information about the IAO is available on the City’s Indigenous Affairs Office webpage.

Toronto History Museums are a group of 10 museums owned and operated by the City of Toronto with the mission to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance the understanding of Toronto’s diverse stories through engaging and exciting experiences and different perspectives. They include Colborne Lodge, Fort York National Historic Site, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Market Gallery, Montgomery’s Inn, Scarborough Museum, Spadina Museum, Todmorden Mills, and Zion Schoolhouse. The Toronto History Museums’ Awakenings program is the recipient of the 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Community Leadership. For more information visit the Toronto History Museums website or follow Toronto History Museums on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube.

With home to more than 2.9 million people, Toronto with its diversity and experiences is Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. Being the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture, and due to investments championed by its government, residents, and businesses. innovation consistently places at the top of international rankings.