Sunrise Ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day honours First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

2023 June 21

Today, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park) proclaimed National Indigenous Peoples Day, following the City of Toronto’s annual Sunrise Ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square, which honours Indigenous traditions and culture.

This year, Elder Garry Sault from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation led the Sunrise Ceremony, with the sacred fire managed by Fire Keeper Geoff Daybutch. The ceremony also featured teachings by Grandmother Kim Wheatley. The proceedings included a pipe ceremony, smudging using the sacred medicines, songs and blessings, teachings and the sharing of water and strawberries.

Following the Sacred Ceremony, Deputy Mayor McKelvie presented the National Indigenous Peoples Day proclamation to Cynthia Bell, Executive Director of the Eshkiniigjik Naandwechigegamig, Aabiish Gaa Binjibaaying (ENAGB) Indigenous Youth Agency.

The ceremony was attended by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. The event concluded with an Indigenous feast.

The City has proclaimed National Indigenous Peoples Day since 1998 to celebrate the unique heritage, diversity and valued contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Tkaronto and all of Turtle Island and to help build stronger relationships with Indigenous communities, rooted in mutual respect and understanding.

The Day coincides with Indigenous Peoples Month in June, a time to recommit to actively working towards truth, justice and reconciliation. To achieve this goal, the City continues to work closely with Indigenous partners and its Indigenous Affairs Office to implement the City’s first Reconciliation Action Plan. The full plan is available on the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan webpage.