NDP STATEMENT ON NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY
June 21st, 2017 - 4:27pm
NDP Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik-Eeyou) and MP Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River), made the following statement on National Aboriginal Day:
“National Aboriginal Day is a day to honour the many contributions of the Indigenous Peoples of this land and is an occasion to reflect on the many challenges Indigenous Peoples still face today,” said MP Jolibois.
“To many Indigenous people, the Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year when the sun is closest to us on Earth, and so is an important spiritual and cultural time. This time is celebrated with feasts, ceremony, dancing, and singing and many people from different communities and nations will come together to build better relationships.”
“Building strong relationships that honour our ancestors and respect the generations to come is important. In doing so, the NDP recognizes and supports the work of Indigenous land and water defenders that are spearheading some of the most important environmental and social justice movements in Canada,” Saganash emphasized. “Every day that we, as Indigenous Peoples, walk through a society built on colonial values is a day that we are reminded of how much work there is still to do to ensure a successful future for all our children.”
The NDP recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have been generous in their willingness to welcome newcomers to their territories and that the land on which Canadians have settled is one of the major contributions Indigenous Peoples have made to Canadian society. We must continue in our policies and actions to ensure that the Government of Canada is guided completely by the values of honest consultation, respect for inherent and treaty rights, the wisdom of Indigenous elders as well as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The NDP is proud that MP Georgina Jolibois has tabled a bill to make National Aboriginal Day a national statutory holiday.
“The timing of this bill is significant for many people because while many are celebrating Canada 150, few are recognizing the sad realities and history of Indigenous Peoples. This recognition is necessary for reconciliation, and a renewed and sincere nation-to-nation relationship,” said Jolibois. “We can’t change the past; however, we can be honest and educate ourselves so that history does not repeat itself. Through a sense of hope, we can develop a path forward together, as our ancestors intended.”
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