Malaspina Galleries c. 1920

Source: permission provided by Derek Kilbourn; Sounder Issue October 6, 2021, Volume 31, Number 40.

Indigenous Events

with the Gabriola Museum

National Indigenous Events in Canada

National Indigenous Peoples Day – June 21

 (Summer Solstice)

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, now known as Indigenous peoples in line with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.
~ text from the Government of Canada’s website National Indigenous Peoples Month

Learn more about National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada here:
National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Truth and Reconciliation Day – September 30

September 30 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

On September 30, all Canadians are encouraged to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools and to honour the thousands of Survivors.

~ text from the Government of Canada’s website National Indigenous Peoples Month

Learn more about Canada’s National Truth and Reconciliation Day and Orange Shirt Day.

Gabriola Museum Indigenous Events

Re-storying Gabriola

Storytelling leads us in the necessary work of collective reimagining by decentering human narratives and re-centering stories of the land and the First Peoples that cared for and were/are of this land.

Initiated by the Museum’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee, Re-Storying Gabriola is a collective reimagining, decentering and re-centering of dominant Gabriola narratives.

This series will build on the Museum’s existing Indigenous collection of artifacts, history, and exhibits through presentations, workshops, and other events to focus on the rich 10,000 years of Indigenous history on Gabriola Island as well as point to the role of colonization in Indigenous/Canadian relations.

In telling new and different stories, we ‘re-story’ in the spirit of Syeyutsus (walking together) with our Snuneymuxw First Nation partners to work on bringing back what we have collectively lost and need to restore.

The first of our series took place on September 4 , 2021. Elder Geraldine Manson offered an Opening Prayer and welcome to Snuneymuxw Reader’s Theatre that highlighted key early moments in Canadian nation building including emerging policies of assimilation and residential schools. Elder Manson shared insights into and personal experiences of the residential school system.

Contextualizing Orange Shirt/Every Child Matters Day

Source: permission provided by Derek Kilbourn; Sounder Issue October 6, 2021, Volume 31, Number 40.

Gabriola Museum National Truth and Reconciliation Day – September 30, 2021

‘Contextualizing Orange Shirt/Every Child Matters’ was the first of a series of storied presentations to expand on the museum’s history related to the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Indigenous relations more broadly. This new series both contextualized the history of European colonization while re-storying the centuries long presence of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island, “a living story that continues to unfold”, including here on Gabriola Island (

Hosted by the GHMS Truth and Reconciliation Committee, community members were invited to join us on September 4th, 2021 to learn the history settler communities share with Indigenous people. We began our series by contextualizing our Orange Shirt fundraising event in a historical talk providing key Canadian dates, people, and documents. These facts continue to be important in understanding the sad legacy of unmarked mass gravesites on the grounds of what have been euphemistically called residential ‘schools’. This legacy, marked on September 30 as Orange Shirt/Every Child Matters Day, was the day trucks and buses began arriving to collect Indigenous children and take them away from loving homes and communities to the harsh reality of ‘cultural assimilation’ in residential schools (see Geraldine Manson, SFN Elder and Knowledge Keeper gave a welcome and opening prayer as well as a presentation on her own experience as a residential school survivor and insights into the multi-generational impact of residential schools on Indigenous communities.

After our presentation we invited community members to explore our new books including a book telling the story of Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor, who started the Orange Shirt/Every Child Matters Day. Our Path of Remembrance and Honouring Indigenous Children was open for those who chose to walk a path of Truth in recognizing the key events and documents that led to the tragic history of residential institutions in Canada.

Gabriola Museum Past Indigenous Events

Monday, June 20, 2022
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Seasonal Movement of the Sauliquum Tribes

In Honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Gabriola Museum is honoured to have Geraldine Manson, Elder and Knowledge Keeper, share her knowledge of traditional history at the GAC Hall • June 20th • 1–3 pm

Come learn about the Sauliquum Tribes who had five villages along the Nanaimo River. Snuneymuxw are the descendants of the Sauliquum. The Snuneymuxw First Nation has the closest historical ties to Gabriola Island, living here seasonally from March to August.

By donation.

Friday, July 1, 2022
11:00 am - 4:00 pm

11 am: Welcome ceremony by Elder and knowledge keeper C’Tasi:a (Geraldine Manson)

Canada Activity booklets
Happy Canada Day cake/cup cakes
Activities for families
Guessing Games
Gift shop open
Eagle Web-cam

Geraldine will sign her Petroglyph book: Snuneymuxw History Written in Places and Spaces

Gabriola Island is situated on the unceded land of the Snuneymuxw First Nations and Coast Salish Peoples. The creation of the Canadian state forced many nations off their traditional lands. Although Canada Day is a celebration for many, we would like to acknowledge that this day is a marker of colonialism.