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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Governor General visits the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region

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June 19, 2009

OTTAWA—Their Excellencies the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond, along with their daughter, Marie-Éden, will be visiting the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec on June 21 and 22, 2009.

On June 21, on the occasion of National Aboriginal Day, Their Excellencies will travel to Mashteuiatsh, the only Aboriginal community in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. They will celebrate the culture, history, timeless traditions and achievements of the First Nations people, who are our deepest roots in this vast country that is Canada. This visit will help to highlight the spirit of openness, sharing and community living that exists between the Mashteuiatsh Nation and the surrounding municipalities.

Since her installation in September 2005, the Governor General has made Aboriginal issues one of her priorities. She believes that the present does not yet recognize all of the wrongs of the past. One year ago, on June 11, 2008, she attended a ceremony on Parliament Hill to witness the Government of Canada’s official Statement of Apology to the former students of Indian residential schools. In addition, Her Excellency recently hosted a discussion on truth and reconciliation to mark the one-year anniversary of that historic apology to the victims of that policy of forced assimilation, the effects of which have been painful and devastating to the Inuit, Métis and First Nations.

The regional visit will continue in the municipalities of Roberval and Saguenay on June 22. Their Excellencies will be meeting with the citizens of each community—who reflect the richness and vitality of their municipalities—and will acknowledge their accomplishments and ceaseless collective efforts to celebrate the history, possibilities and identity of their region.

Below is the detailed itinerary for this regional visit:

Sunday, June 21

12:00 p.m.
Lunch at the Native Museum of Mashteuiatsh
Their Excellencies will meet with various representatives of the community, including elected officials, Elders, women and youth, to engage in a discussion with them and to gain an overall idea of their community.

Built in 1977 on the shores of the Pekuakami (lac Saint-Jean), the Native Museum of Mashteuiatsh has, as its mission, to safeguard the cultural heritage of the Ilnuatsh (Montagnais). It is a window on contemporary creations by Ilnu and Aboriginal cultures, which, like all cultures that are very much alive, continue to evolve.
Native Museum of Mashteuiatsh, Mashteuiatsh
OPEN TO MEDIA – Opening remarks only

1:30 p.m.
Vernissage and visit to the exhibit, Mariage entre le frêne et le bouleau, at the Native Museum
Their Excellencies will take part in the vernissage of the Mariage entre le frêne et le bouleau exhibit, which features the ancestral ash weaving techniques of the Abenaki and the masterful birch work of the Ilnuatsh.
Native Museum of Mashteuiatsh, Mashteuiatsh

3:00 p.m.  
Participation in a community celebration
Their Excellencies and Marie-Éden will take part in traditional activities during a community celebration. They will learn how to prepare game meat and animal hides, and will attend a hide tanning and smoking demonstration, competitive team sporting events for youth, which will include portaging and canoeing, and the unveiling of a quilt.
Mashteuiatsh community site, Mashteuiatsh

4:45 p.m.
Mukushan—a traditional meal
Their Excellencies will take part in a traditional meal, known as a mukushan. Before the meal, the Governor General and Chief Gilbert Dominique of the Conseil des Montagnais du Lac-Saint-Jean will deliver remarks. A concert featuring a new generation of artists will wrap up the evening.
Mashteuiatsh community site, Mashteuiatsh

Monday, June 22

9:00 a.m.  
Visit to the Bibliothèque Georges-Henri-Lévesque
In the presence of His Worship Michel Larouche, Mayor of Roberval, Their Excellencies will visit the Bibliothèque Georges-Henri-Lévesque, a meeting place and exhibition space for local artists. During their visit, the Governor General will read a story to a group of children. She will then visit the library to meet with staff, volunteers and artists.

His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will present excerpts from his documentary film, Madwoman of God (Folle de Dieu). A discussion with the Ursulines and the Augustines de Roberval will follow the screening.
Bibliothèque Georges-Henri-Lévesque, Roberval

Monday, June 22

12:30 p.m. 
Lunch and discussion with stakeholders involved in developing and revitalizing the region
Their Excellencies will attend a lunch hosted by His Worship Jean Tremblay, Mayor of Saguenay. Taking part in the discussion will be youth who are helping to develop the region and representatives of sectors that are key to the region’s vitality.
La Pulperie, Saguenay
OPEN TO MEDIA – Opening remarks only 

2:30 p.m. 
Guided tour of the Musée régional La Pulperie
Their Excellencies will go on a guided tour of the Musée régional La Pulperie and visit its temporary exhibits depicting the region’s history.

Located in a building that once housed the Compagnie de pulpe de Chicoutimi, La Pulperie is an historic site in the centre of an immense park, in the heart of the city. It features the history of the Compagnie de pulpe de Chicoutimi and highlights the vital role that it played in the early 20th century in developing the city and the region.
La Pulperie, Saguenay

3:30 p.m. 
Presentation of Exemplary Service Medals
In the presence of the Mayor of Saguenay, the Governor General will present 12 Police Exemplary Service Medals to police officers from Saguenay and one Fire Services Exemplary Medal to a Saguenay firefighter. The Governor General will also deliver a speech on this occasion.
La Pulperie, Saguenay

5:30 p.m. 
Community gathering at the Patro de Jonquière
Their Excellencies will take part in a community gathering at the Patro de Jonquière. Close to 400 people are expected to attend this gathering, which will feature activities and musical performances.

The Patro de Jonquière is a community recreation centre with a mission to promote individual development; to reach out to youth and offer them support, a place to meet, and activities adapted to their needs; to provide adults and seniors with a space for recreational purposes; and to service the community of Jonquière, particularly those most in need.
Patro de Jonquière, Saguenay


Media information:
Marie-Ève Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-302-0912 (cell)

Marthe Blouin
Official Spokesperson to the Governor General
613-301-3379 (cell)