National Indigenous Peoples Day: A Guide to Events in NWT

Across Canada, more than 188 events are going to be held to celebrate the upcoming National Indigenous Peoples Day by honouring the history, traditions and knowledge of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

Below is a list of events happening across the NWT on June 21 and over the weekend. Find the nearest one to join and celebrate the day!

If you know of an event that’s not on the list, email us at to help us compile a more complete event guide.

North Slave Regions


The North Slave Métis Alliance will be hosting its annual free fish fry and stage shows at the Somba K’e Civic Plaza. The event runs from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., starting with locally caught whitefish from the Great Slave Lake and homemade bannock. North Slave Métis President Marc Whitford and Deputy Mayor Garrett Cochrane will give speeches, followed by dance and drum performances.


From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., spend an eventful night with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation at the Wilídeh Site. Activities include handgames, cane races and drum dances, along with cultural demonstrations of duck plucking, muskrat and fishing cutting.


The community of Whatì will have a fun day of BBQ and games starting from 12 p.m. at the White Cross. More than a dozen games are prepared for adults and kids, such as moss ball, Elder’s checkers, egg toss and sack bag race.


In Behchokǫ, multiple events will be held separately at the Baseball Field, Sportsplex gym and the Culture Centre. At 1 p.m., residents may choose from joining a community BBQ, participating in traditional games, or enjoying a mini carnival with a bouncy castle, face painting and popcorn.

South Slave Regions

Hay River

In partnership with Enterprise and K’átł’odeeche Frist Nation, the Town of Hay River will host a multicultural talent show at Aurora Ford Iced Arena. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., residents can enjoy vocal and instrumental music, dance performances, and a moose calling competition. Participants might also win prizes such as a fishing set.

Fort Smith

A celebration event will be held in partnership between the Fort Smith Métis Council, the Smith’s Landing First Nation, the Salt River First Nation and the Town of Fort Smith. The event will be held from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Macpherson Park near the Centennial Arena.

Beaufort Delta Regions


The celebration event in Inuvik is perfect for foodies, featuring a variety of food including fish fry, soup and bannock, smoked tea and hamburgers. The beloved Artic Market will be in full swing in the afternoon. The event will be held at the Jim Koe Park, organized by the Town of Inuvik, Ingamo Hall, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Nihtat Gwich’ in Council, Inuvik Native Band and Parks Canada.

The Nihtat Gwich’ in Council will organize a Traditional Dress Parade at Chief Jim Koe Park at 3 p.m. Participants can showcase their traditional clothing, footwear and accessories, and share stories behind each piece.


Starting from 2 p.m., the Inc. Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk will host multiple events at the Baseball Field, including a BBQ, open jam session and drum dance.

Sahtu Regions

Norman Wells

Norman Wells is having a 4-day celebration starting from today and continuing through the the weekend. On Thursday evening, residents can sign up for a scavenger hunt at the Ball Field. Lila Fraser-Erasmus, who ran for the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh’s MLA, will host a Dene medicine walk and a slave, lotion and cream-making section on Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the TGG Wellness Centre. The scavenger hunt will wrap up on Sunday, after the canoe races and BBQ.

Colville Lake

Fun games with cash rewards for children and adults will take place at the Colville Lake Recreation Centre, including balloon toss, relay race and life save pass.

Dehcho Regions

Fort Simpson

Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation will be hosting a full-day event, starting with a fire feeding ceremony at 8 a.m. Residents can expect a performance by Stanley Beaulieu, a Radio Bingo with a prize of $15,000, and a show by Indigenous comedian Auntie Beachress. You are promised not to return home with an empty stomach as there will be three rounds of meals!

Also in Fort Simpson, Jodie and Francis Isaiah will offer the first horse race of the season along with other activities with cash prizes.

Sambaa K’e

Celebration events with activities and games are also available in Sambaa K’e.

About the Author

Josie Jiaxuan Wu
Josie Jiaxuan Wu is a multimedia journalist with a focus on cultural diversity, social justice and human interest stories. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Journalism degree. Through her storytelling, she strives to improve the representation of marginalized communities. For story ideas, Josie welcomes inquiries via emails at