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June 21, 2020 – National Indigenous Peoples Day

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada on the occasion of National Indigenous Peoples Day.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was first celebrated in 1996, after being proclaimed that year by then-Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated on June 21st each year. It is a day during which the many Indigenous communities of Canada, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, celebrate their cultures, heritages, languages and beliefs.

Indigenous Chiefs across Canada had called for a day celebrating the Indigenous Peoples of Canada decades before its official creation. In 1945, several Chiefs first self-declared an “Indian Day” to be celebrated across Indigenous communities throughout the nation. Over five decades later, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that a day commemorating the Indigenous Peoples of Canada be designated; this was after many years of advocacy and campaigning led by the National Indian Brotherhood (now known as the Assembly of First Nations), Indigenous chiefs and the Sacred Assembly, a national Indigenous conference chaired by former Member of Parliament Elijah Harper.

This is normally an opportunity to gather as a community to celebrate this occasion.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made normal activities impossible.

During these difficult times we must look after the spiritual, emotional and mental well-being of each other.  I encourage you to connect with loved ones, friends and vulnerable members of the community online or by phone.