Summer Solstice / National Aboriginal Day

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (NWT)

Some 15 years ago Governor General Romeo LeBlanc declared June 21st as National Aboriginal Day to honor and celebrate Canada's Indians, Inuit and Métis. That particular day was chosen because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice in aboriginal cultures.

National Aboriginal Day has become a day for all Canadians to celebrate the cultures and contributions to Canada of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and aims to bring about awareness to the rest of Canadian society, in all aspects of art, music, oral history and traditional games.

The first Summer Solstice celebration in Yellowknife was a mere 6 hours long. Today the festival lasts for 5 days and is recognized as one of the most spectacular Summer Solstice / National Aboriginal Day celebrations in the country. The Summer Solstice Festival in Yellowknife attracts more than 15,000 visitors.

More than 120 performers, interactive workshops and over 50 vendors and side shows showcase the talents of Northern musicians, street performers, face painters, jugglers and more with music, story telling, traditional sewing, dancing, canoe rides, caribou hide tanning, traditional hoop dancing, drum dances and throat singing.

The festival also includes music, theatre and a famous golf tournament with tee off times under the midnight sun and featuring celebrities.

One of the fun features of the festival is the popular pastime of shaving cream fights in the streets - popular amongst younger festival-goers!

Some quick facts about Aboriginal people

• There are three groups of Aboriginal people in Canada: First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

• Aboriginal languages are made up of different language families each family including a number of related languages.

• Aboriginal people inspired Canada's two national sports : Ice Hockey and Lacrosse

For more information about the Yellowknife Summer Solstice visit the official web site at

Top events and festivals in the Northwest Territories

• Folk on the Rocks
• Great Northern Arts Festival
• Summer Solstice / National Aboriginal Day

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• Northwest Territories
• Nunavut
• Yukon


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