The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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APTN Concert - Celebrating Our Peoples

Rideau Hall, Wednesday, June 20, 2012


My wife, Sharon, and I are delighted to welcome you to Rideau Hall on this, the eve of National Aboriginal Day.

Let me begin by acknowledging that this concert is taking place within the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation, which spans the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

This concert is a wonderful tribute to the diversity and creativity of the Aboriginal peoples in this country.

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 remind us that the story of Canada—one of diverse peoples, striving to live together in peace and harmony—began with the Aboriginal experience.

Throughout my mandate so far, I have been fortunate to meet with and to learn from Aboriginal peoples across Canada, including at the Crown-First Nations Gathering here in Ottawa earlier this year.

At that gathering, I was deeply honoured to be presented with a sacred gift of friendship and diplomacy in the form of a wampum belt.

I want you to know this wampum belt now occupies a central place in our conference room here at Rideau Hall, as a reminder of the covenants that bind us and of my responsibilities as a representative of the Crown.

As with our past and present, our future in this land will be shared. That is why it is so important that we continue to find new ways to tell our stories and to work together. 

Music has a remarkable ability to transcend borders and divisions—I sometimes refer to this as the diplomacy of music. This concert is a wonderful means of sharing Aboriginal music and culture with all Canadians, and I want to thank the musicians for being here tonight and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network for making this event possible.

I hope that you have the opportunity to take part in the many festivities that are taking place this week in celebration of National Aboriginal Day. I wish you the very best.

Thank you.