Schools in Ottawa’s largest school board did not play ‘O Canada’ to start the day on Tuesday in recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board did not play the anthem in schools to mark the annual day that recognizes and honours First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures. Instead, a message was read to students over schools' P.A. systems.

"Today we are not playing the national anthem," said the message, which was obtained by CTV News. "The national anthem centers on the settlers who colonized this unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory. Today instead, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, we center and celebrate the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who are the first peoples of Turtle island."

An OCDSB spokesman said June 21 gives everyone at the OCDSB a special opportunity to celebrate the richly diverse culture and traditions of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

“The anthem was not played today to instead centre and celebrate the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people who are the first peoples of this land,” Darcy Knoll said in an email Tuesday afternoon.

"Schools across the OCDSB took some time to share a special message to acknowledge the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, students, families and community members who enrich our school environment with their brilliance, wisdom and knowledge.”

The Ottawa Catholic School Board played ‘O Canada’ in schools as per its usual routine.

National Indigenous Peoples Day takes place on the summer solstice. It’s a day when people are encouraged to learn more about the experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Events are taking place across the country to highlight the history and heritage of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

There has been discussion at the OCDSB about whether the tradition of playing the national anthem in schools should continue.

Last year, a member of the board’s Indigenous education advisory council suggested students should no longer stand and sing the national anthem in schools, saying the practice is distasteful and should be replaced by something more positive.

Many Indigenous peoples view ‘O Canada’ as a harmful reminder of the historical oppression that Indigenous peoples face.

The singing of ‘O Canada’ is provincially mandated, but students do not need to sing if a parent or guardian requests that they be exempt.

Here’s the full text that was read to OCDSB students on Tuesday in lieu of the national anthem:

"June 21 gives us all a special opportunity to celebrate the richly diverse culture and traditions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, the original peoples of Turtle Island. This day of celebration coincides with the longest day of the year, summer solstice.  It also coincides with the beginning of the pow wow trail where Indigenous families, friends and communities come together to celebrate, share and learn more about each other’s cultural traditions. At the OCDSB we have a year-round responsibility to embed and celebrate the beauty, richness and diversity of Indigenous Peoples.

"National Indigenous Peoples Day gives us an opportunity at the OCDSB to also celebrate and acknowledge the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, students, families and community members who enrich our school environment with their brilliance, wisdom and knowledge.

"Today we are not playing the national anthem. The national anthem centers on the settlers who colonized this unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory. Today instead, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, we center and celebrate the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who are the first peoples of Turtle island.”