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La Ronge, Tuesday, August 24, 2010
It is a real privilege and a delight to be with you here today in La Ronge—which, I am told, is the largest community in northern Saskatchewan—and to see Chief Tammy Cook Searson again. I had the pleasure of talking with you during my first official visit to Regina in 2006 in the context of a gathering of 13 aboriginal women chiefs and leaders. The discussions we had then were eye openers for me and all of us.
One of the greatest gifts these past five years as Governor General of Canada have afforded me is the ties I have created with the Aboriginal people of this country, who, I often say, are our deepest roots in the Americas.
All across Canada, in every province and territory, I have met with remarkable women, men and young people who are working hard on a daily basis to build solid bridges between ancient traditions and the promises of today.
I have been thrilled to see that, despite all the obstacles, Canada’s young Aboriginal people are dreaming big and want to preserve their heritage. They also want to be part of reinventing the world today, according to their aspirations and their willingness to work for the good of their communities, respecting every living thing.
Just like today, I have learned a lot from my meetings and time shared with many First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the land. I have taken every opportunity to share your perspectives with other Canadians and everywhere I have travelled abroad.
I believe it is necessary and vital that we nourish the dialogue between us to better understand what we are collectively and encourage more openness to your history, which is the oldest in this country and on this continent.
I have been looking forward to this meeting with the community of La Ronge, as I believe that your vitality and success are development models, not only for Aboriginal communities across Canada, but for all our communities.
I am convinced that your words and progressive actions to overcome challenges and embrace the possibilities of community development hold the promise of a better life.
I feel it now, standing before you, as I believe that we, as human beings, are united when exchanged ideas warm our hearts.
Thank you very much for your warm welcome. Please know you can always count on my friendship and my gratitude.