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Indigenous Peoples Day at AGNS

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June 21, 2023 @ 10:00 am 5:00 pm

What is Indigenous Peoples Day?

June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day and a time to celebrate the diverse and unique cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples across Turtle Island [North America]. This also marks the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, and a new season of life.

How does the AGNS support and celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day?

We are on Mi’kma’ki (Mi’kmaq Territory) and through the Peace and Friendship Treaties, which the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), and Passamaquoddy Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725-1726, there was no surrender of lands nor resources. Agreements within these Treaties outline a path for the ongoing relationship between Nations in mutual respect.

Indigenous People’s Day, and everyday, is a great time to learn about the treaties and to reflect on how we are all Treaty People in relationship to this land and each other.


Did you know the AGNS offers free admission to Indigenous people year-round?

Daily Tour

The AGNS offers free daily tours at 2:00 pm for everyone. Tours are a great way to learn and understand more about the art on display. There’s no sign up required; just come to the front desk at 2:00 pm and your guide will be waiting! Today, the tour will feature Indigenous art on view.

While you’re here, check out our learning space adjacent to the lobby called “Interconnections: See, play, learn.”

What’s On View

“Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity,” explores the ways in which Indigenous contemporary artists take on issues of climate change, globalized Indigeneity, and contact zones in and about the Arctic and the Amazon during a time of crisis. The featured artists have their origins in these places, and their works embody a politics of resistance, resurgence, and ways of knowing and being in relation to the lands that are the source of their knowledge and creativity.      

“Ta’n a’sikatikl sipu’l | Confluence,” celebrates works by Indigenous artists in the AGNS Permanent Collection through themes of relationships and connections. In this exhibition there are two spotlight sections including the “Mi’kma’ki Artists’ Spotlight,” which features an Indigenous artist making work on Mi’kmaw territory now (Megan Kyak-Monteith), and “(Tea)chings,” a space for artwork created through programming by Indigenous community members of all ages.

Note: This exhibition is also available virtually! Experience the exhibit without even leaving the house on the Experience -> Virtual Tours section of this website.

The AGNS also has an “Exhibition Highlight,” of artists Kent Monkman (Cree, Fisher River Cree Nation), Ursula Johnson (Mi’kmaw, Eskasoni, Unama’ki Cape Breton), and Jordan Bennett (Mi’kmaw, Katqmkuk Newfoundland). In this exhibition, you will see paintings exploring treaties, relationships, and Mi’kmaw ancestral and contemporary dialogues alongside sculptural installations exploring the sharing of cultural knowledge.

Summer Solstice

Indigenous People’s Day falls on Summer Solstice and Mi’kmaw Territory sees the first light each morning at sunrise on the east coast. Check out Jordan Bennett’s 13 moons on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Western Branch, that talks about the Mi’kmaw lunar calendar.

This is a satellite installation from the exhibition “Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity.”

Treaty Space Gallery, 1107 Marginal Rd.

“Gákte-Quipo,” is a textile installation consisting of Sámi clothing twisted and tied into a “quipo form,” made collaboratively by Máret Ánne Sara (Sámi, Norway) and Cecilia Vicuña (Chile). In its traditional form, the quipo is an ancient system of recording composed of strings and knots, historically used by cultures located in the South American Andes. Overtime, the understanding of quipos has been lost, and this work seeks to honour Indigenous Peoples whose cultures and art are often threatened.

It utilizes “gáktis,” (type of traditional Sámi clothing) that were donated from across Sápmi territories in solidarity with the trial, the piece ties together Indigenous voices and the struggle from northern to southern hemispheres.

To Watch in the Theatre

For Heritage Day 2023, the province of Nova Scotia honoured the legacy of Elder Rita (Bernard) Joe, a member of the We’koqma’q Mi’kmaq Community and published author.

Three Mi’kmaw writers were commissioned by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, to create pieces inspired by the life and works of Rita Joe:

Tiffany Morris
Danica Roache
Raymond Sewell

The works were presented to a group of Indigenous students from schools in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS), at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to honour the memory of Rita Joe. The students were welcomed by poet and emcee for the event Rebecca Thomas, who talked about Rita Joe and performed her poem, “I’m Finding My Talk,” created in response to Rita Joe’s most famous poem, “I Lost My Talk.”

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