Approximately 500 years ago, the first Europeans arrived in what would eventually become Canada - a country built on immigration and multiculturalism. But for thousands of years before that Canada was inhabited by various groups of Aboriginal peoples.
This photo shows some of our guests from the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto who were just about to present their first program at Toronto Reference Library on November 3, 2010 in front of a very enthusiastic audience of over 100 people.
The Canadian Parliament declared in 2009 that June become a National Aboriginal History Month. The nationwide celebrations culminate on June 21th - the National Aboriginal day in Canada. If you are in Toronto on June 21 - I highly recommend attending the Aboriginal Celebration Event at Yonge-Dundas Square,10am-9pm (pdf flyer for the event).
Toronto Public Library presents over twenty programs this year in celebration of Aboriginal Culture and Heritage. They include teachings in hand drum, medicine wheel and wampum belt, arts and crafts workshop, Native songs and dances, music, storytelling, and more. Here is a list of all the events at different library branches in Toronto - they bring important messages from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. All programs are free and suitable for the whole family!
If you are interested to read more about the Native People of Canada - here is a recommended reading list of books for adults, teens and children that the Library has prepared for the Aboriginal Month.
For more information and suggestions on dance and music - check out this previous "Arts and Culture" blog: "Native People's Dance and Music: Celebrating National Aboriginal Day June 21".
Toronto Public Library has Native Peoples collections of materials located in three of its branches: Spadina Road Library (Spadina subway), North York Central Library (North York Centre subway)and Toronto Reference Library (Yonge/Bloor subway). There are books by and about Native Peoples with a special emphasis on Canada, as well as Native language learning and teaching materials and audio/visual materials. The Languages Centre at Toronto Reference Library has dictionaries, grammars and readers for study and teaching of Native languages, as well as sound recordings of music and spoken word. Free listening equipment is available.
The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto is conveniently located just next to the Spadina Road Library, so you could visit them both on one trip. This Centre offers many programs and services based on Native cultural traditions and teachings. Everyone is welcome there. And remember to check out the wonderful gift shop where one can buy unique hand-made crafts created by artists from the Aboriginal community.
Did you know that you can use your TPL library card to borrow a FREE museum and arts pass from your local library and visit the Museum of Inuit Art, located at Toronto's Harbourfront. The Museum has also told us that they offer completely FREE admission on weekends and they have great activities for kids. It is a fantastic place to go with the whole family! This previous 2010 post on Inuit Art from the Library's "Arts and Culture" blog features some beautiful books on Inuit Art like sculpture and printmaking, that you can borrow from Toronto Public library.
More than one million people in Canada identify themselves as Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit, Métis peoples), according to the 2006 Census, or 3.8 per cent of the population. According to the demographic information for the City of Toronto - in 2006 there were more than 30,000 Aboriginal people living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
HAPPY NATIONAL ABORIGINAL HISTORY MONTH!