This Friday, June 21, is National Indigenous People’s Day.

For over 40 years, BCSS has been supporting, helping, and advocating for families across the province to help them access the information and resources they need to care for loved ones with severe and persistent mental illness. Today, BCSS remains committed to addressing inequalities within the healthcare system and advocating for families to help them get the resources and information they need when they need it. This includes increasing the access to support and resources available for Indigenous families.  

Throughout the province, BCSS regional managers and educators are working alongside local Friendship Centers and centering Indigenous knowledge and teaching in our programs. BCSS is working with local band offices to provide in-service training to staff about mental illness. We are also working to develop Indigenous-specific curriculum for our Strengthening Families Together program, which we are working to release this year.

Through genuine connections and shared experiences, we can foster a more inclusive society that cherishes and respects the contributions of all. Together, let’s build bridges of understanding and celebrate the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples.

BCSS encourages you to learn about the beauty of Indigenous arts, traditions, and languages and explore the profound wisdom passed down through generations. Engage in meaningful conversations, listen to personal stories, and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Indigenous history.

First Nations in Canada: First Nations are diverse Indigenous peoples who have inhabited the lands now known as Canada for thousands of years. They comprise over 600 distinct nations, each with its own unique traditions, languages, and governance systems. Some key facts about First Nations communities include:

  • First Nations peoples have a deep connection with the land and the environment, viewing it as a vital part of their identity and spirituality.
  • The First Nations population is incredibly diverse, with a wide range of languages spoken, including Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and many others.
  • Traditional practices, such as powwows, smudging ceremonies, and storytelling, play a significant role in preserving and passing on cultural knowledge


Inuit people in Canada: The Inuit are Indigenous peoples who primarily inhabit the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and Russia. In Canada, they have a strong presence in the territories of Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Labrador) and the Northwest Territories.

Here are some noteworthy facts about the Inuit people:

  • Inuit communities have a rich oral tradition, passing down stories, legends, and cultural knowledge through storytelling and song.
  • Inuit people have traditionally relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering for sustenance, emphasizing a deep respect for nature and its resources.
  • The Inuit have a unique writing system called Inuktitut syllabics, developed to represent their language and preserve their cultural heritage.


Métis in Canada: Métis people are descendants of Indigenous peoples and European settlers, primarily French and Scottish, who formed unique cultural communities in the Canadian West. They have a distinct culture, blending aspects of Indigenous and European heritage. Here are some facts about Métis communities:

  • Métis communities emerged through intermarriage between First Nations peoples and European settlers, resulting in a distinct Métis culture, language (Michif), and traditions.
  • Métis Nation’s homeland spans across the provinces and territories, with significant populations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and parts of Ontario and British Columbia.
  • Métis people have made significant contributions to various fields, including art, literature, and political activism, playing a vital role in shaping Canadian history.


If you would like to learn more about Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis cultures, we recommend visiting the UBC Learning Circle’s website for more information and resources.

Visit to find more information on our programs and services, including Strengthening Families Together, and stay updated on new materials and events.