Gathering with Fort McMurray #468 First Nation and Presentation of the Governor General’s Commendation for Outstanding Service
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Friday, June 24, 2016
I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are on Treaty 8 territory.
Canadians have a long history of helping each other in times of need.
As I often point out, it’s a history that began with the generosity that indigenous peoples showed to newcomers who were trying to survive their first winters in this cold country.
And it’s a history that continues into the present day, as we saw with the generosity the members of this community showed to those who were fleeing the wildfires.
Here in Fort McMurray First Nation, you welcomed evacuees from the city, before being forced to evacuate yourselves.
This makes your response even more admirable. Even as your own community was being threatened, you offered food, shelter and comfort to those affected.
What happened here in Fort McMurray First Nation was very special, and I know you will continue to be involved in the effort to rebuild.
You share more than a name with Fort McMurray.
You are neighbours and partners who are stronger working together, and your response to this disaster is an illustration of that.
All of Canada, and indeed people around the world, watched as the devastating wildfires spread.
We took comfort in the stories of people pulling together and helping each other, and your story inspired us all.
Thank you for your compassion, your generosity and your bravery.
And thank you for inspiring all Canadians by your example.