Statement from Ministers Carolyn Bennett, Marc Miller, Daniel Vandal and Steven Guilbeault on National Indigenous Peoples Day

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage issued the following statement today in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day:

“Today marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, and the 26th anniversary in Alberta.  This day is traditionally marked by ceremonies and celebrations, highlighting cultural activities and events that recognize the contributions of Indigenous Peoples. Today, we pay witness to Indigenous excellence and recognize the different and distinct heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we invite you to take part in  National Indigenous Peoples Day at home by learning more about the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis by reading a book featured in the #IndigenousReads reading list or stream a video by the outstanding Indigenous filmmakers.

This year’s celebrations come at a time that has been deeply and emotional traumatic for Indigenous communities across the country. Residential Schools were part of a shameful and racist colonial policy that removed Indigenous children from their communities and denied them their families, language and culture – the impacts of which are still felt to this day. We grieve alongside Indigenous Peoples and we are working with Indigenous partners to provide resources and support as communities grieve and chart a path forward to find their missing children and healing.

Today is also a time to acknowledge the steps taken towards reconciliation and re-affirm our commitment to this journey. Recently, Budget 2021 announced commitments to key initiatives and investments to protect and advance Indigenous cultures, health and wellness, safety and security, and justice. Earlier this month we released the Federal Pathway, our government’s contribution to the National Action Plan to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. We aim to end this tragedy by addressing its root causes, as we deliver on the Government’s commitments in the Federal Pathway.

As June is also National Indigenous History Month, it’s important to recognize the contributions of Indigenous Peoples in the development of our shared society. Our country is stronger when there are more Indigenous voices in decision-making positions, bringing innovative contributions to many fields like arts and culture, medical, legal, education and more.

Tomorrow we will all be watching the Indspire Awards as we celebrate the achievements of Indigenous role models across Canada.

We are committed to renewing relationships with Indigenous Peoples based on the affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. We encourage everyone in Canada to engage in the many virtual opportunities to celebrate Indigenous culture today and every day.”

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