2021 National Indigenous Peoples Celebrations



On June 21, Canada will celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day.

First celebrated in 1996, National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples from across Canada.

This year, AHS is Celebrating Resilience through Reconciliation. We'll be hosting online events throughout the month of June (see all the events here).



We encourage you to celebrate with us by sharing your images and stories of strength and resilience. Let’s gather together – online – to celebrate the strength of Indigenous peoples in Alberta.

"My mask is called "In Spirit". I have chosen the base color as navy blue with an infinity symbol and beaded Métis flower designs representing Métis peoples. The tulips represent love for all my relations. Focusing on the beauty of nature and in life creates a positive mindset needed to endure our struggles. The mask is surrounded by colors of the medicine wheel in recognition of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.
"This mask is a reminder to return to your spirit, to your culture, your ceremonies, your traditions, your language and your relations to overcome daily challenges. In this way, we may find peace, hope and purpose."

Lisa L'Hirondelle, Métis Cree



On June 21, Canada will celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day.

First celebrated in 1996, National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples from across Canada.

This year, AHS is Celebrating Resilience through Reconciliation. We'll be hosting online events throughout the month of June (see all the events here).



We encourage you to celebrate with us by sharing your images and stories of strength and resilience. Let’s gather together – online – to celebrate the strength of Indigenous peoples in Alberta.

"My mask is called "In Spirit". I have chosen the base color as navy blue with an infinity symbol and beaded Métis flower designs representing Métis peoples. The tulips represent love for all my relations. Focusing on the beauty of nature and in life creates a positive mindset needed to endure our struggles. The mask is surrounded by colors of the medicine wheel in recognition of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.
"This mask is a reminder to return to your spirit, to your culture, your ceremonies, your traditions, your language and your relations to overcome daily challenges. In this way, we may find peace, hope and purpose."

Lisa L'Hirondelle, Métis Cree

  • Added session - Summer Solstice Drumming & Singing

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    Join us tomorrow from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. as Elder Dale Awasis leads us in Summer Solstice Drumming and Singing.

    To join, click here.

  • Share your images of strength & resilience

    For National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, we invite Indigenous Peoples and Allies alike to share images honouring Indigenous culture and strength. Tell us what makes you proud, what you are learning, and let's celebrate together.

    Share your image of strength here.

  • June 21 - It's National Indigenous Peoples Day!

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    Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day!

    First celebrated in 1996, National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous peoples.

    AHS is celebrating throughout the month of June, and we invite you to join us by:



  • Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Month

    Throughout National Indigenous Peoples Month, we are celebrating the strength and resilience of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people by highlighting some great work taking place throughout the organization.

    One silver lining of the pandemic has been the development of some great partnerships between Indigenous communities/organizations and AHS that we hope to continue to foster into the future. While we know we have a lot of work to do yet, we have seen what is possible when we work together.

    Joining AHS CEO Dr. Verna Yiu today to discuss what they have learned and experienced while working with Indigenous peoples and communities throughout pandemic are:

    • Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, Senior Medical Director, Indigenous Wellness Core
    • Dr. Alika Lafontaine, an anesthesiologist from Grande Prairie who is the newly appointed and first Indigenous President of the Canadian Medical Association.

    See more of Dr. Yiu's Weekly Vlogs here.

  • Events this week: June 21 to June 25

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    Here's how we're celebrating this week. Please join us, and see the full events calendar here.

    Mon, June 21

    NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY

    9:00 a.m.

    Opening Prayer Circle, Teachings and Song
    Mondays at 9:00 a.m.
    Start the week in a good way by joining us for a prayer led by Elder Dale Awasis.

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Introduction to the Indigenous Wellness Core
    Val Austen Wiebe, Senior Provincial Director, Indigenous Wellness Core, AHS
    Marty Landrie, Executive Director, Indigenous Wellness Core, AHS

    Join us for an overview of the AHS Indigenous Wellness Core (IWC). The IWC leadership will provide some background on the evolution of Indigenous Health at AHS, an overview of the IWC strategy, and the vision for the future.

    Click here to join

    Tues, June 22

    9:00 a.m.
    to 10:00 a.m.

    Generational Impacts on Indigenous Health due to government Indian policy
    Dale Awasis, Awasisak Advisor, AHS

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Honouring Life Updates: Stardale Women’s Group presentation

    Throughout National Indigenous Peoples Celebration Month at Alberta Health Services a number of communities/organizations are presenting their innovative and inspiring work undertaken through the Honouring Life grant. We encourage you to attend these sessions to learn about the challenges and successes of these projects, the strength and wisdom of Indigenous ways of being in building resilient and strong youth, and how AHS can work with Indigenous communities through humility and commitment.

    Click here to join

    Wed, June 23

    9:00 a.m.
    to 10:00 a.m.

    What is family? Looking through an Indigenous lens
    Dale Awasis, Awasisak Advisor, AHS

    Click here to join

    11:00 a.m.
    to 12:00 p.m.

    Honouring Life Updates: Bonnyville Friendship Centre & Urban Society of Aboriginal Youth (USAY)

    Throughout National Indigenous Peoples Celebration Month at Alberta Health Services a number of communities/organizations are presenting their innovative and inspiring work undertaken through the Honouring Life grant. We encourage you to attend these sessions to learn about the challenges and successes of these projects, the strength and wisdom of Indigenous ways of being in building resilient and strong youth, and how AHS can work with Indigenous communities through humility and commitment.

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Land Acknowledgements
    Jamie Harmon, Health Promotion Facilitator, AHS

    Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Land Acknowledgements are a stepping-stone in the reconciliation process. This presentation provides a look at Land Acknowledgements through an Indigenous lens. We will talk about their significance, how to prepare one and the best way to present one. Some of the content may be emotionally triggering as we will be learning the truths of Indigenous history in Canada. These topics will include: Indian Residential Schools, 60’s Scoop, Indian Hospitals and how these historical events affected the Indigenous population.

    Click here to join

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:30 p.m.

    Social Determinants and Indigenous Health
    Jennifer Mantha, Health Promotion Facilitator, AHS

    In this interactive workshop, we will discuss how the social determinants of health influence health and wellness, particularly as they relate to Indigenous Peoples in Canada. A historical view of how colonization shaped the determinants of Indigenous Peoples health will lead to an understanding of why inequities in the social determinants between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous populations exist today. We will also discuss how health indicators can be utilized to reveal health inequities stemming from deficiencies in the social determinants. Finally, we will discuss how Indigenous-specific social determinants, like self-determination, can positively affect Indigenous well-being.

    Click here to join

    2:30 p.m.
    to 3:30 p.m.

    Indigenous Allyship
    Sondra Baker, Health Promotion Facilitator, AHS

    Delving into the world of allyship with an Indigenous lens. Find the answers to these questions and more: How can we transfer our well-meaning thoughts into actions? and how can we truly make a difference where it is needed? What is Allyship, and how can I be an Ally for the Indigenous community.

    Click here to join

    Thurs, June 24

    9:00 a.m.
    to 10:00 a.m.

    Parenting for today
    Dale Awasis, Awasisak Advisor

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Honouring Life Update: Métis Calgary Family Services (MCFS)
    Throughout National Indigenous Peoples Celebration Month at Alberta Health Services a number of communities/organizations are presenting their innovative and inspiring work undertaken through the Honouring Life grant. We encourage you to attend these sessions to learn about the challenges and successes of these projects, the strength and wisdom of Indigenous ways of being in building resilient and strong youth, and how AHS can work with Indigenous communities through humility and commitment.

    Click here to join

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Honouring Life Update: Makai’sto Foundation
    Throughout National Indigenous Peoples Celebration Month at Alberta Health Services a number of communities/organizations are presenting their innovative and inspiring work undertaken through the Honouring Life grant. We encourage you to attend these sessions to learn about the challenges and successes of these projects, the strength and wisdom of Indigenous ways of being in building resilient and strong youth, and how AHS can work with Indigenous communities through humility and commitment.

    Click here to join

    1:00 p.m.
    to 3:00 p.m.
    Summer Solstice Drumming and Singing
    Elder Dale Awasis

    Click here to join

    2:00 p.m.
    to 3:00 p.m..

    Radon ReconciliACTION
    Kienan Williams, Assistant Scientific Director, Indigenous Health

    Reconciliation through discussions alone are just words; ReconciliACTION by leading through tangible activities with real world implications are positive steps forward. This project that tested 70 homes for radon gas in Samson Cree Nation in a collaboration led by Maskwacis Health Services with Alberta Health Services and Indigenous Services Canada.

    Click here to join

    Fri, June 25

    9:00 a.m.
    to 10:00 a.m.

    Realities of on-reserve life
    Dale Awasis, Awasisak Advisor, AHS

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    MMIWG
    Joanna Gladue, Health Promotion Facilitator, AHS

    Click here to join

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Highlights & Closing Prayer
    Elder Emil Durocher

    Join us on Fridays as Elder Emil Durocher to share traditional teachings and ground us for the week along with and the Indigenous Wellness Core planning team to share highlights of the week, overview of what’s to come next week and announcement of the weekly winners of beautiful prizes donated by the Indigenous Wellness Core.

    Click here to join

  • Events this week: June 14 - June 18

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    Here's how we're celebrating this week. Please join us, and see the full events calendar here.

    Mon, June 14

    9:00 a.m.

    Opening Prayer Circle, Teachings and Song
    Mondays at 9:00 a.m.
    Start the week in a good way by joining us for a prayer led by Elder Dale Awasis.

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Indigenous Talent Acquisition
    Christine Traeger, Manager, Talent Acquisition, Students, Diversity & Inclusion, AHS

    Tues, June 15

    11:30 a.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Health Co-Management 101:
    Indigenous Services Canada

    What is Health Co-Management between First Nations and the First Nation Inuit Health Branch? Learn more about this unique structure, how it operates, the partnership process between these groups that focus on improving the health of First Nations in Alberta. Learn how AHS departments could strengthen their connections with children and youth, health promotion, health protections, mental health and non-insured health benefits.
    Session will be followed by a retirement presentation to Dr Wadea Yacoub

    1:00 p.m.
    to 1:30 p.m.
    Retirement preseitaion to Judith Hockney
    2:00 p.m.
    to 3:00 p.m.

    Little Wonders – children’s playtime
    Presenter: Natalie Winn-Dempsey, Miskanwah
    Moderator: Lisa L’Hirondelle, Indigenous Hospital Liaison, AHS

    Little Wonders is a parented, early literacy, music and play program offering designed for families and their children from birth up to age 6 years old. This program has a distinctive rhythm and energy that perfectly captures the attention of young children and reflects traditional ways of connecting spiritually, socially and emotionally. Little Wonders is a program offering where parents & caregivers can delight in watching and interacting with their children in culturally rich environment. This program is offered throughout the year by the Tawaw Family Resource Network at Miskanawah.

    Wed, June 16

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Misi Yehewin (Big Breath): Understanding Covid-19 Experiences and Perceptions among Metis Albertans.
    Reaghan Bartel, Director of Health, Métis Nation of Alberta Health

    This presentation is a look at how MNA folks have fared during the initial restrictions. Beyond the technical data, this presentation has overarching themes that are great for AHS to hear in terms of cultural safety and communication.

    Thurs, June 17

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Indigenous Trauma & Reconciliation
    Randal Bell, Senior Advisor – Indigenous Populations, AHS

    Join us for a talk that examines how Indigenous Trauma continues to be perpetuated through generations of young Indigenous people. Randal will explore how this trauma has affected his own family and how it continues to affect many more like his. Randal will explore how trauma has contributed to poor health outcomes of Indigenous people for generations, culminating in what some consider a national health crisis. Drawing on career research and experience, Randal proposes preparations for the journey to Indigenous reconciliation in healthcare and confirms that AHS has already begun planning for this long and difficult journey.

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.
    Calgary Zone Indigenous Health Action Plan
    Nicholas Thain, Senior Operating Officer, Community Rural & Continuing Care, AHS
    Chelsea Crowshoe, Director, Provincial Indigenous Wellness Core, AHS
    Simon Ross, Senior Advisor, Cultural Competency, AHS

    This is a story of health planning and co-design in action with Calgary Zone Indigenous communities. This is a journey that has centered on trust, relationship building, shared vision and collaboration. Grounded in ceremony, sacred stories, and a commitment to co-design, the stories connect with the diversity of urban and rural Indigenous communities to build the Calgary Zone Indigenous Health Action Plan.

    Fri, June 18

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    The Northern Health Services Network
    Liz Kingan, Senior Advisor, Northern Health Services Network

    This is an AHS program that works with people from the three Territories to get them home safely, with the correct equipment and supplies, following their stay in one of the Edmonton area hospitals, or longer term outpatient treatment.

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Highlights & Closing Prayer
    Elder Emil Durocher

    Join us on Fridays as Elder Emil Durocher to share traditional teachings and ground us for the week along with and the Indigenous Wellness Core planning team to share highlights of the week, overview of what’s to come next week and announcement of the weekly winners of beautiful prizes donated by the Indigenous Wellness Core.

  • Hope & Healing Ceremony - a gift from Siksika Nation

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    Thank you to the Siksika Nation for gifting the Peter Lougheed Centre patients, families, physicians, staff and visitors with a ceremony of Hope and Healing on Thursday, June 3.

    https://youtu.be/SoKJUOJQuSQ

  • Events this week: June 7 - June 11

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    Here's how we're celebrating this week. Please join us, and see the full events calendar here.

    Mon, June 7

    9:00 a.m.

    Opening Prayer Circle, Teachings and Song
    Mondays at 9:00 a.m.

    Start the week in a good way by joining us for a prayer led by Elder Dale Awasis.

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Quality of Care for First Nations Members in the Emergency Department
    Lea Bill, Executive Director, Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre
    Patrick McLane, Senior Researcher, Emergency SCN, AHS

    Emergency care services are an important health resource for First Nations persons. Working collaboratively with First Nations partners, academic researchers and health authority staff, this mixed-method study investigates First Nations emergency care in Alberta. In this presentation, we share qualitative results of interviews with physicians and nurses who work in emergency care, as well as results of ongoing analysis of health systems data. We provide recommendations for improving emergency care of First Nations members for individual healthcare providers, emergency departments and health systems.

    Click here to join

    Tues, June 8

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Unconscious Bias & its impact on Cultural Safety
    Karen Brooks, Senior Patient Engagement Consultant, AHS
    Randall Bell, Senior Advisor – Indigenous Populations, AHS

    The objectives of this session are to become aware of our own world views and biases. In this session, we learn about the relationship between bias and systemic forms of oppression (e.g. racism), and the importance of cultural safety for people who are different to you.

    Click here to join

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Four Winds: Indigenous Patient Navigation Model (Methodology)
    Kienan Williams, Assistant Scientific Director, Indigenous Health,AHS

    This presentation will focus on the co-design methodology with Indigenous communities in the South Zone and the impact on the overall project implementation.

    Click here to join

    2:00 p.m.
    to 3:00 p.m.

    Little Wonders
    Presenter: Natalie Winn-Dempsey, Miskanwah
    Moderator: Lisa L’Hirondelle, Indigenous Hospital Liaison, AHS

    Little Wonders is a parented, early literacy, music and play program offering designed for families and their children from birth up to age 6 years old. This program has a distinctive rhythm and energy that perfectly captures the attention of young children and reflects traditional ways of connecting spiritually, socially and emotionally. Little Wonders is a program offering where parents & caregivers can delight in watching and interacting with their children in culturally rich environment. This program is offered throughout the year by the Tawaw Family Resource Network at Miskanawah.

    Click here to join
    Passcode: 690380

    Wed, June 9

    11:00 a.m.
    to 12:00 p.m

    Four Winds: Indigenous Patient Navigation Model (Nurse Perspective)
    Chloe Crosschild, Indigenous Patient Navigator, AHS

    This presentation will focus on implementing an Indigenous Patient Navigation service in the South Zone and be presented from the Indigenous nurse in the role.

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    ESim Indigenous Health Project
    Simon Ross, Senior Advisor, Cultural Competency, AHS
    Click here to join



    Thurs, June 10

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Honouring Life Updates: Enoch Cree Nation
    Click here to join

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Stories from South Zone: AHS Staff Highlights
    Click here to join



    Fri, June 11

    11:00 a.m.
    to 12:00 p.m.

    Supporting Indigenous Peoples in Continuing Care
    Orezy Imomoh, Lead, Provincial Seniors Health and Continuing Care, AHS

    Join us in learning how Alberta Health Services is working to improve the quality of care that Indigenous seniors receive from home care, in Designated Supportive Living and Long Term Care sites across the province. Providing quality care to Indigenous peoples involves supporting their individual physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional needs by working to provide culturally appropriate care that acknowledges their belief systems, background, history, community and experiences.

    Click here to join

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Inuit Culture
    Atsinak Bishop, Indigenous Cultural Helper, AHS
    Click here to join

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Highlights & Closing Prayer
    Elder Emil Durocher
    Click here to join

  • Grieving together for 215 Indigenous children, their families and communities

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    Recently, Canada was faced with the horrific discovery of 215 Indigenous children found near the site of Canada’s largest residential school in Kamloops, BC.

    Because of the courage of residential school survivors and their families, we know some of the horrors that happened at residential schools; however, we can never prepare ourselves for this type of heart wrenching discovery.

    Everyone at AHS is collectively grieving the loss of these children and are mourning with their families and communities as we remember the travesties that occurred in Canada’s residential schools.

    We express our deepest sympathies to everyone who has been impacted, and hope we can honour the memories of those lost and those still living with the trauma through truth and reconciliation.

    There is so much more work to do and we each have a role to play. Education, awareness, learning, and a commitment to do better can unite us on a path forward.

    Flags at all AHS sites are at half staff to honour the children from Kamloops and all those who never returned home.

  • Events this week: May 31 to June 4

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    Here's how we're celebrating this week. Please join us, and see the full events calendar here.

    Mon, May 31

    9:00 a.m.

    Opening Prayer Circle, Teachings and Song
    Mondays at 9:00 a.m.
    Start the week in a good way by joining us for a prayer led by Elder Dale Awasis.

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Opening Ceremonies
    MC Dr Esther Tailfeathers,
    Senior Medical Director, Indigenous Wellness Core, AHS

    Tues, June 1

    11:00 a.m.
    to 12:00 p.m.

    Bridging the Gap for Indigenous Children’s Services
    Sherri Di Lallo, Manager, Awasisak Indigenous Health, AHS

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Maskekosak Inikey Tamasowin – Land of Medicines, Walking Together
    Enoch Cree Nation
    Lynette Avery - Executive Director, Mamowicitowin
    Amanda Morin - Councillor & Divisional Lead, Mamowicitowin

    “Reconciliation starts with us as individuals."
    Enoch Cree Nation will highlight the courage of their community members very personal, powerful healing journeys and how these raw and real stories can/are helping others to begin their healing process.

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    G4 Health – Our Nation’s First
    Margo Dodginghorse, Health Director Stoney Nakota Tsuut’ina Tribal Council / G4

    G4 Health Supports the Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina First Nations in providing advocacy and capacity building efforts. We focus on the nations needs first and then work with stakeholders to find connections and solutions in advancing the health and wellbeing of our members. The G4 Health Team will share their journey to date and key highlights and visuals.

    Wed, June 2

    12:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Métis Settlements General Council 101
    Blake Desjarlais, Director of Public & National Affairs, Métis Settlements General Council



    Thurs, June 3

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.
    First Nations Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) 101
    Indigenous Services Canada


    Fri, June 4

    12:00 p.m.
    to 1:00 p.m.

    Inuit culture and light of quiliq (oil lamp)
    Goota Desmarais, President, Inuit Community Development & Education Foundation
    Goota will provide a traditional education session on Inuit culture through prayer, interactive discussion and singing of our national anthem in Inuktitut.

    1:00 p.m.
    to 2:00 p.m.

    Highlights & Closing Prayer
    Elder Emil Durocher