National Aboriginal Day is an opportunity for us to honour the historic contributions of our First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as well as commit ourselves to working with them to create a brighter future for all Canadians.
It is important to remember that the many treaties signed with indigenous peoples are the foundation of our Constitution. And that the Inuit’s continuous occupation of the land, sea and ice of the North is what gives Canada its northern sovereignty.
Unfortunately, these founding peoples of Canada are still not treated fairly.
First Nations receive far less money to educate their children than other Canadians, leaving generations of indigenous children without the resources to succeed in today’s economy.
Widespread protests against soaring food prices have sprung up across the North and Inuit are asking why devolution still is not complete nearly 15 years after Nunavut became a territory.
Métis Canadians are still fighting for recognition in many parts of the country.
So, on this National Aboriginal Day, we remember our shared history while also reflecting on all that still needs to be done. We must move towards a new relationship, nation to nation, that advances land claims, respects aboriginal rights and ensures a bright future for Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.