Healthy Communities

June is National Indigenous History Month, Pride and Seniors Month

31 May 2023 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

June is a month full of celebrations, reflections, examinations, and new learnings.

This month, we celebrate the rich heritage, culture, diversity and history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across the land known as Canada.

June is also Pride month. In June of 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. The community resisted and the following events transformed the gay liberation movement and paved the way for Pride around the world today.

Annual Pride events take place across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) annually, with the main event culminating with a weekend of music, joy and celebration of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and communities.

In Ontario, June is also Seniors Month. It's a time to honour and recognize the contributions of our community elders. The 2023 theme "Working for Seniors" inspires everyone to recognize the work seniors have done all their lives to make Ontario the place it is today.

The YMCA of Greater Toronto will be commemorating these special occasions this June by hosting a variety of learning opportunities as we listen, learn and celebrate!

EventDateEvent Description Registration
The Bright Spot June 2023 ActivitiesJune 2023

Join The Bright Spot, the YMCA of Greater Toronto's online community for older adults, for fun, free virtual events this June.June 2023 events at The Bright Spot
Indigenous Women in Community ActivismSaturday, June 10 from 1:30 pm to 4 pm


Cooper Koo Family YMCA, Gymnasium
Join us for an inspiring and informative afternoon with Indigenous community changemakers: Cathy Walker, founder of the mobile, free, street clinic Giwaabamin; Carolynne Crawley, founder of Msit No’kmaq; and Misko Kicknosway, facilitator and criminology student at Western University.Register Now
YMCA Pride Month CelebrationSaturday. June 17 from 11 am to 3 pm


Central YMCA, Auditorium
Please join us for an amazing celebration for the whole family.

Featuring a drag performance by Baby Bel Bel at 11:30 am, performances by the Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance at 1:30 pm, and beats all day by the Legendary DJ Blackcat who will host a DJ Workshop at 2 pm.

There will also be light refreshments, button-making, T-shirt decorating, vendors, and fun for all ages!
Register Now
Indigenous Food Sovereignty: A Virtual Talk with Jared BigCanoeTuesday, June 20 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm

Join the YMCA and Jared BigCanoe from Georgina Island First Nation as he shares his knowledge about, and expertise in, traditional Indigenous foods.

Jared will discuss the importance of traditional foods in Indigenous cultures and the movement to bring back Indigenous food sovereignty.
Register Now

*Our in-person events are mask-friendly and we will be collecting donations of period products for MoonTime Sisters Ontario at these events.


Understanding Indigenous experiences

For more learning, see the articles, videos, websites and listings below to deepen your understandings. With this knowledge we — YMCA employees and everyone in our communities — can walk a path towards reconciliation in a good way.

A sample of Summer 2023 happenings 

2023 Ontario Pow Wow calendar

Indigenous & Black Farmers Market — ‘Deeply Rooted’ Market runs every Sunday from May to September 2023, in Dieppe Park in East York/Toronto.

The ArQuives exhibits  Canada’s 2SLGBTQIA+ Archives

Indigenous Arts Festival on June 18

Indigenous storytelling and cultural events hosted at the Toronto Public Library

 Websites and reports 

The Canadian Encyclopedia: Indigenous Peoples

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (‘TRC’)

94 Calls to Action, from the TRC

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls   Includes the final report(s), Calls for Justice, Executive Summary, etc.

21 Things You May Not Have Known About the Indian Act via Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

National Indigenous Histories Month (and why it’s important)


What non-Indigenous Canadians need to know (4.5 minutes)

Eddy Robinson is an educator on issues affecting Indigenous peoples. In this video, he explains why asking, “How can I help?” is not the right question.

Jeremy Dutcher’s Honour Song via First Play Live (5.5 minutes)

A classically trained Indigenous tenor, composer, musicologist, performer and activist who uses archival recordings of traditional Maliseet songs within their musical creations.

Land Acknowledgements — We Were Always Here (11 minutes)

This video sheds light on how Indigenous people’s lives and histories have shaped Toronto’s origins and asks the question: In this era of reconciliation, how do we acknowledge our collective history?

Grandmother’s voice video (40 minutes)

Grandmother Renee will share knowledge of how to honour the Natural World and how it helps us to live in a good way.

 Archives and virtual exhibits 

Project Naming — Conceived by Nunavut Sivuniksavut and beginning as a collaboration between that organization, the Government of Nunavut and the National Archives of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada). This project enables Indigenous peoples to engage in the identification of photographs from their archives.

Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket — This film follows the journey of making the Witness Blanket — a national monument that commemorates the experiences of residential school survivors across Canada.

The ArQuives exhibits  Canada’s 2SLGBTQIA+ Archives

Woodland Cultural Centre’s Virtual Tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School  Hosted regularly throughout the year.


All My Relations podcast  A place to explore relationships to land, place, people, non-human relatives, and one another, in all its complexities. Hosts: Matika Wilbur and Adrieene Keene.

Nation to Nation podcast A weekly look at politics affecting Indigenous people in Canada.

Story Keepers Podcast Join Waubgeshig Rice and Jennifer David as they talk ‘all things Indigenous books.’

Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s Journalist Connie Walker came upon a story about her late father she’d never heard before. In this podcast, Connie unearths how her family story fits into one of Canada’s darkest chapters: The residential school system.

Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild on CBC Listen A radio space for Indigenous voices — cousins, aunties, elder and heroes.

Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo Where is Cleo? CBC reporter Connie Walker joins the search to find out what really happened to Cleo in this award-winning podcast.

 Free resources, articles and courses

Towards Braiding This downloadable PDF suggests a path and approach toward authentically enfolding Indigenous voices and views into an organization.

Aboriginal World Views and Education Course — Created by University of Toronto, offered via Coursera.

Indigenous Canada Course — Created by the University of Alberta, offered via Coursera.

University of Toronto OISE | Ontario Institute for Studies in Education — Indigenous Education modules.

Featured image is used with permission of the artist, Cody James Houle. Learn more about Cody's Artwork that Celebrates Indigenous History, Pride and Seniors Month.


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