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National Indigenous History Month

Indigenous Peoples and their nations have always flourished on Turtle Island (North America), within and across the borders of Canada. National Indigenous History Month offers many opportunities to learn more about the histories of Indigenous Peoples on this land It is a celebration and a backdrop for thriving Indigenous futurities. 

Turtle Island is home to a diverse range of Indigenous nations, each with its own language, culture, and heritage. National Indigenous History Month is an important time for settlers to learn about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit I histories, cultures,  lifeways, and the treaties made with the early settlers, British Crown, and later Canada. It is also a time for Indigenous Peoples to celebrate their Indigeneity. 

Throughout the month of June we will highlight stories from Indigenous community members at York, follow along and share your story using #IndigenousatYU and #IndigenousHistoryMonth. 


National Indigenous History Month at York

Read statement from York President Rhonda Lenton, Vice President Equity, People and Culture Sheila Cote-Meek and Associate Vice-President, Indigenous Initiatives Susan D. Dion.

Centre for Indigenous Student Services

The Centre for Indigenous Student (CISS) Services strives to create a sense of belonging and to support the academic, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of a diverse Indigenous student population. CISS provides a safe community space that offers culturally appropriate support services and programs to facilitate students' success throughout their post-secondary studies.

The Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages

CIKL is the first Organized Research Unit at York University centered on Indigenous and decolonizing scholarship, and hosts Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and students engaged in these areas.

Featured Stories

Reflecting on National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous Peoples Month

Shanice Perrot is a student in the Children, Childhood and Youth BA program in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. She is currently the Student Success Mentor at the Center for Indigenous Student Services. Perrot is Nehiyaw (Cree) from Frog Lake First Nations. She wrote the following reflection about the significance of National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous People’s Day.

An Interview with Historian and Language Preservationist Alan Corbiere

Dr. Alan Ojiig Corbiere is an assistant professor in the History Department within the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. Alan is an Anishinaabe from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island. His research interests include Indigenous Peoples, History, Anishinaabe Language Revitalization, Treaty Research and Relationships.  

Leisure Reading: Indigenous History Month

York U Libraries has curated a selection of works by Indigenous authors.

Find your next read here.

sunny day on campus with buildings in background

A statement on York’s commitment to the Indigenous Framework and decolonizing research

Read the full statement.

A Treaty Guide for Torontonians Book Launch

Congratulations to CIKL Associates Martha Stiegman and Alan Corbiere for their involvement in the forthcoming book “A Treaty Guide for Torontonians”.

See book launch event details.

Indigenous Entrepreneurs Find Support at YSpace

"Our product is Bannock mix - we call ourselves the pancake mix of bannock. It's a simple mix that requires just adding water to the mix and frying (or baking)," says Bangin' Bannock co-founder Destiny Hootsie.

"Each 400g Eco-Friendly package makes about 8 pieces of Bannock with four simple steps, and four simple ingredients. This versatile bread can be fried or baked, stuffed or topped, hot or cold. Bannock when fried has the lovely texture of a golden crunchy donut while being soft and fluffy on the inside. When baked it is similar to a scone. Our packaging offers fried instructions," explains Kelsey Coutts.

Bangin’ Bannock co-founders Destiny Hoostie (DH) and Kelsey Coutts (KC) share their company’s origin story and offer advice to anyone getting started.

DH: My name is Destiny Hoostie, I am Assiniboine from White Bear First Nations on my mother's side and Norwegian and German on my father's side. I am a proud mother to my three loving children. I have an educational background in Social Work. I have a passion for helping and a desire to create change for Indigenous families and community. My entrepreneurial journey started during the pandemic. My studies were put on hold and as a way to keep busy I started up two businesses. I am proud to say both businesses are still up and running, and growing each day.

KC: Hadih and Hello! My name is Kelsey Coutts, and I am co-creator of Bangin’ Bannock; an Indigenous women owned business offering Frybread mix by the bag! I come from Nak'azdli ancestry on my father’s side and Scottish/Irish on my mother’s, and was raised mostly on Vancouver Island. I have a huge love for knowledge, art, and general experience. I also work as a stagehand, and during the pandemic when shows had come to a near halt I decided to learn about entrepreneurship, was paired up with Destiny as a stranger, and Bangin' Bannock was born!

DH: Bangin' Bannock was born in the pandemic through a virtual Indigenous entrepreneur program called - The 3CBC Program. Kelsey and I met as complete strangers and were partnered up during the program. As everything shut down, so did our cultural gatherings - including bannock stands. I typically would eat bannock at Pow Wow's, at school, celebrations, and family gatherings. But a while passed and I started to miss having a fresh piece of bannock. I wasn't the only one missing bannock - other people mentioned not having bannock since the pandemic because we weren't out in the community. So during the program when a business idea was being developed, it was a natural fit to develop a DIY bannock mix that could be made at home.

KC: Destiny and I both grew up with Bannock being a large part of our childhoods- each gathering, powwow, ceremony, potlatch, there would be bannock. Both of our families, as many other indigenous families, had our own recipes which had very loose instructions. Our Bannock recipe was born of our own family's recipes, and perfected to be consistent. What started as just an idea of selling a Frybread mix as convenience soon clearly grew into a beautiful sort of platform for communication, sharing, learning, and giving back. We've been honoured to speak at multiple events over the last year of business, we've had enough support to be able to donate 10% of profits monthly to various organizations, and we now are on a journey of introducing Indigenous language on our packaging in place of French, and having the very important conversations about indigenous language revitalization.

DH: Our product is Bannock mix - we call ourselves the pancake mix of bannock. It's a simple mix that requires just adding water to the mix and frying (or baking). (I try to be cognizant of Indigenous communities that don't have clean drinking water - so when I mention 'just adding water' I understand I come from a place on privilege.)

KC: Each 400g Eco-Friendly package makes about 8 pieces of Bannock with four simple steps, and four simple ingredients. This versatile bread can be fried or baked, stuffed or topped, hot or cold. Bannock when fried has the lovely texture of a golden crunchy donut while being soft and fluffy on the inside. When baked it is similar to a scone. Our packaging offers fried instructions.

KC: Our Original Frybread mix can be purchased online at www.banginbannock.ca  There is also a list of brick and mortar shops that carry us on our website.

DH: It was a powerful and uplifting experience. "Someone wants to try our product!" I don't remember if our first sale was through our personal social media or through our website but I do remember doing a little happy dance when the 'Ca-Ching" notification would come through our Shopify app, letting us know a sale came through.

KC: Choose something you believe in and love as your business. I really feel like when you love something and money is not the first consideration, work doesn't really feel like "work" in the same sense anymore.

DH: Finding a space for our Indigenous representation to exist in business. Unfortunately,  some of our Indigenous languages have been lost due to continued colonial policies that have attempted to erase our Indigenous existence including our languages - the residential school era as just one example. In the wake of revitalization of Indigenous languages we have used the Cree languages on our packaging using Cree syllabics as our bilingual language. We have seen hesitation and push back from retailers and distributors for not having French on our packaging.

The Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act that became law in 1974 is an oppressive colonial policy. The act recognizes French as the bilingual language and requires all packaging to include French. It is important to recognize Indigenous language exists long before this act was implemented and long before French was spoken on this land. Yet, this colonial policy continues to be enforced, oppressing our Indigenous languages. We hope to create change, conversations and bring awareness to the importance of revitalization and recognition of Indigenous languages.

KC: Space. In many different aspects of the word- as many entrepreneurs in the food sector probably understand, there are so many different regulations of food safety that must be met when processing. Even as an extremely low risk product we have to produce in a commercial kitchen, which we are lucky to have a local indigenous nation support us by allowing us use to their kitchen space. Without this support the rental costs on shared kitchens and commissary kitchens are extremely high and I'm not sure how most new food related business can get ahead.

In the other sense of the word, space as a women owned indigenous business with a focus on language revitalization is starting to prove to be a journey within itself. Our packaging features Plains Cree Syllabics in place of Canada's legally required French language, it is on purpose and we intend to keep it that way. Our indigenous languages to turtle island are being lost, and only we can stop our various beautiful languages extinctions.

DH: Our community! Knowing that we are paving the way for other Indigenous entrepreneurs and navigating the business worlds allows us to inspire, share knowledge, and promote Indigenous representation. This has definitely been a driving force to motivate us. 

KC: The better we do the more we can give back and represent something we love very much. Destiny and I, I think, both want to see a future for the children and grandchildren with a strong culture. We have a beautiful platform to bring light to issues, represent culture and teach those who want to learn. Every big month we have we get to give a big donation and that feels so great, so even when it's tough it feels like Bangin Bannock is bigger than us and worth every amount of effort.