Dana Justine Belcourt is a Métis–Cree writer and artist–in–residence at Skwachàys Lodge. Through paintings, zines, public murals and media–based art forms, their work deals with themes of love, friendship and being someone of mixed Indigenous ancestry. Here are a few of Belcourt’s favourite ways to support community on National Indigenous Peoples Day (on June 21) and all year–long.
Métis–Cree artist Dana Justine Belcourt shares events and actions to support Indigenous organized spaces and places across Canada, now and year–round.
Take part in local events and celebrations
In Vancouver, Skwachàys Lodge, a one–of–a–kind boutique hotel with guest suites designed by local Indigenous artists, is holding a large event to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, as well as the 10–year anniversary of the hotel.Opened by the Vancouver Native Housing Society, the hotel features a street–level gallery and artist–in–residence program for practising Indigenous artists. The event will feature local food vendors, such as Mr. Bannock Indigenous Cuisine, and performers like Native Thunder Productions and Tsatsu Staqayu Coastal Wolfpack. All funds raised will help support up–and–coming Indigenous artists in the region.
To see what is happening elsewhere in Canada, consult this interactive map of events across Canada.
Visit Indigenous–owned galleries and art collectives
Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre is an Indigenous–run gallery in Edmonton that supports Indigenous contemporary art, experimental creative practices and research. The current exhibition Aninnik (Anirnq) features Indigiqueer Inuk artist Glenn Gear in a fascinating space he created to celebrate the sights, sounds and animalia of Nunatsiavut (an autonomous area claimed by the Inuit in Newfoundland and Labrador).
In Regina, Sâkêwêwak Artists’ Collective is holding their annual Storytellers’ Festival, a community–based multidisciplinary arts showcase running from June 23–26, 2022. The festival features Indigenous film, poetry, comedy, music and artists. Buy a ticket to one of the shows — or volunteer — to enjoy the works while simultaneously showing support for the Indigenous artist community.
Eat at Indigenous–owned restaurants
Try Salmon n' Bannock, Vancouver’s only Indigenous–owned and operated restaurant. With a menu featuring free–range organic game meat, as well as wild fish straight off the B.C. coast, the bistro puts a spotlight on high–quality ingredients and traditional preparation. Support them by booking a table or by donating to their current fundraiser, Feed Your Spirit”, which has the goal of helping this top–rated restaurant open an outpost at YVR. Find Indigenous restaurants in other regions of Canada by visiting indigenouscuisine.ca.
Buy from Indigenous brands
Streetwear fashion brand Mobilize explores modern notions of indigeneity through colour, style and representation. Indigenous–designed hoodies, tees and jackets feature symbols, artwork and wording that pay respect to tradition while making a statement.
Not the hoodie type? Shop these stunning accessories from Indigenous designers.
Support Indigenous media and startups
A big part of supporting the Indigenous community is making the time to listen. Dive into the Words of Medicine podcast, created by Leo Manning, which opens dialogues between Indigenous youth in Canada through a podcast series on what tradition means to them. Salmon Run Newspaper Anthology is an Indigenous–led newspaper project curated by Cole Pauls that features Indigenous comic artists such as Whess Harmon, Ocean Hyland and Jared Fox. And Making Space, a mentorship program that supports BIPOC artists, is helpful for discovering emerging Indigenous makers of all kinds.