Aboriginal Awareness Week is held on the four days that follow the Victoria Day long weekend and was first introduced in 1992. It was designed to increase awareness of Aboriginal peoples and evolved into a week to honour the many Aboriginal cultures in Canada, including the Métis, the Inuit and First Nations.
Did you know?
- In Aboriginal cultures, the Earth is sacred. Aboriginal peoples consider themselves to be part of the Earth.
- Canada’s Aboriginal population is the fastest growing in the country.
- It is estimated that over 54% of the Aboriginal population lives in cities.
- There are over 60 Aboriginal languages in Canada belonging to 11 major language families.
- Cree, an Algonquian language, is spoken by more than 87,000 people in Canada, making it the country’s most widely spoken Aboriginal language.
- Inuktitut is the official language of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, and is spoken by more than 35,000 people.
- In Aboriginal communities, elders are keepers of traditional teachings and language. They are greatly respected for their life experience and wisdom, and members of the community often seek their advice.
- Elders are not necessarily elderly, since traditions vary greatly among Aboriginal peoples. Elders are usually not self proclaimed; instead, it is the members of the community who will acknowledge someone to be an elder. (Excerpt from “Claire and her Grandfather,” Indian and Northern Affairs Canada)
- Many of Canada’s place names have their roots in Aboriginal languages. For centuries, these names have described the natural features of the land or significant historical events.