A twirling Indigenous dancer wearing colourful footwear and clothing.

Ottawa | Destination Ontario

Indigenous events and celebrations

A twirling Indigenous dancer wearing colourful footwear and clothing.

Ottawa | Destination Ontario

Several upcoming festivals and events in Ontario celebrate Indigenous culture and the contributions, accomplishments and talent of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in theatre, film, music, sport and science.

Discover more unique events, tours and attractions at IndigenousExperienceOntario.ca.

Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival

Honour National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 in Ottawa this year during the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. A free, family-friendly event, the festival celebrates First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures, knowledge, art and heritage with musical performances, culinary experiences, art and craft workshops and an International Competition Pow Wow. Shop for jewellery, artwork and handicrafts in the online Indigenous Marketplace and order CDs and merchandise from your favourite participating musicians. 

Summer Solstice Festivals are produced by Indigenous Experiences on behalf of the National Indigenous Peoples Day Committee (NIPD) and hosted by The National Association of Friendship Centres. The festival is held on the traditional and unceded territories of the Algonquin Peoples.

When: June 21–26, 2022

Where: Mādahòkì Farm, Ottawa


Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival (NIFF)

Take in theatre, music, poetry, dance and more performed by Indigenous multi-disciplinary artists and actors from across Ontario at this brand-new Indigenous fringe festival. 

Ten companies are scheduled to perform during the five-day festival following a special opening ceremony to kick off the event and commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Fringe festivals are uncensored, experimental theatre experiences that explore non-traditional styles and themes and support independent companies and artists. NIFF is a member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals.

Shows will take place in an outdoor venue adjacent to the Enwayaang Building of Gzowski College, in the East Bank campus of Trent University in Peterborough. Get your tickets online from the Showplace Performance Centre.

Trent University is located on the treaty and traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg and Chippewa Nations, collectively known as the Williams Treaties First Nations.

When: June 21–26, 2022

Where: Peterborough


Grand River Champion of Champions Pow Wow

Experience the rich culture and heritage of the Six Nations of Grand River at the Champion of Champions Pow Wow near Brantford. Witness the dazzling display of incredibly talented competitive dancers from across Canada and the US.

Pow wows are social and spiritual gatherings of Indigenous peoples to honour their heritage and nature, renew friendships and celebrate with music, song, food, dance and storytelling. For non-Indigenous people, attending a pow wow is a great privilege. The master of ceremonies will provide cues to the audience on when to stand in respect, when to be silent and when photography is permitted.

The Champion of Champions Pow Wow is a long-standing tradition held at Chiefswood Park in the Six Nations of the Grand River Community with open-air events, food stalls and craft vendors.

When: July 22–24, 2022

Where: Ohsweken


Ontario Summer Indigenous Games

The Ontario Summer Indigenous Games “shine a light on the journey of young Indigenous athletes, striving forward for excellence.”

For four days in late July, approximately 500 Indigenous athletes between the ages of 13 and 18 will compete in almost a dozen different sporting events, including lacrosse, basketball, soccer, volleyball and wrestling. Athletes and spectators will also enjoy special events, local food and cultural celebrations. 

The event is hosted by Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO) in partnership with the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, with events and competitions taking place at various venues such as the University of Ottawa campus, the Terry Fox Athletic Facility and the Nepean Sportsplex.

Ottawa sits on the traditional unceded territories of the Algonquin Peoples. 

When: July 28–31, 2022

Where: Ottawa


Wake the Giant

Celebrating culture and inclusivity, this music festival focuses on creating a platform to amplify the voices of Indigenous artists, musicians and dancers. Enjoy energizing shows by Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers, Indigenous dance, local food, a craft market and other merchandise in a welcoming environment. 

The city of Thunder Bay is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinabek Nation, which includes the Ojibwa of Fort William First Nation, signatory to the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850. 

When: September 17, 2022

Where: Thunder Bay Waterfront


imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

Explore provocative, inspiring, innovative and original cinema during imagineNATIVE, the world’s largest Indigenous film and media arts festival held annually in Toronto.

The festival shines a spotlight on Indigenous media artists, filmmakers, storytellers and thought leaders from Canada and around the world and celebrates their work in film, video, radio and digital media. imagineNATIVE aims to foster a "greater understanding of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions." 

In addition to what’s on-screen, check out the apparel and accessories collections, as well as artist collaborations and publications in the online festival store

imagineNATIVE takes place on land that is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat and the Mississaugas of the Credit.

When: October 18–29, 2022

Where: Toronto


Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions Travelling Exhibition

Drawing from nature and passed on from generation to generation, Indigenous knowledge, skills, inventions and creativity are vast and timeless.

Developed by the Montreal Science Centre, the Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions exhibition was showcased in Ontario earlier this year, presented by Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) and Science North and hosted at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. 

The interactive and engaging exhibit explored First Nation, Inuit and Métis cultures and knowledge from a scientific perspective using principles of observation and experimentation.

For those who did not get to see it or those who want to experience it again, Science North and ITO co-developed a customized, travelling version of the exhibit promoting Indigenous cultures and innovation. Accompanied by dedicated staff, Indigenous Ingenuity will tour over a dozen communities across Northern Ontario. Check back for updates on timing and locations.

When: September 2022–June 2024 (exact dates TBD)

Where: various communities in Northern Ontario

Last updated: March 11, 2023

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