National Aboriginal Day Celebrations
Ottawa, Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Thank you for your warm welcome. I am delighted to join you for this celebration of National Aboriginal Day.
Let me begin by acknowledging that this gathering is taking place on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation.
It is so wonderful to see so many children here today. Let me ask the youngsters in the audience: do you know what my grandchildren call me?
They call me Grandpa Book, because I love reading and I love books.
As governor general, I often speak of diversity as one of Canada’s greatest strengths. The many rich and varied cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples reminds us that the story of Canada—one of diverse peoples, striving to live together in peace and harmony—began with the Aboriginal experience.
I have been fortunate during my mandate to visit many Aboriginal peoples in their communities. It has been a great privilege to learn more about the remarkable diversity and creativity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and to experience such warmth and generosity.
I have witnessed many wonderful success stories, and seen the promise of good things to come—particularly from young Aboriginal people, who have so much to offer.
Together, we must create the conditions in which Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people can thrive equally, according to their hopes and dreams.
As with our past and present, our future in this country will be shared. While much remains to be done on the road to reconciliation and recovery, we have such wonderful potential.
Throughout my mandate, I have been inviting all Canadians to imagine ways to build a smarter, more caring society.
One way we do this is by understanding and respecting the traditions and contributions of the first peoples of this land.
Community gatherings such as this one are a wonderful example, with an emphasis on sharing, learning, respect—and of course delicious food!
Together, you are widening the circle of knowledge and belonging, a quintessentially Canadian notion that is deeply rooted in Aboriginal cultures.
I truly believe our greatest potential lies in what we have yet to learn from each other. So let us come together to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.