June 21, 2022
Ottawa, Ontario—I would like to wish all Canadians a wonderful and reflective National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Over the past year, I have delighted in visiting Indigenous people where they live and work—where culture is thriving and where their contributions to every part of our society are being celebrated. I have seen the resurgence of Indigenous languages, some close to extinction, being brought back from the brink by determined speakers. And I have heard from Indigenous youth, full of optimism for tomorrow, who are also engaging in issues and facing the challenges that will impact their future, such as education, food security and climate change.
Although much progress has been made in recent years, there is still much work to be done as we travel the road of reconciliation. We all approach reconciliation from different perspectives, and its definition is fluid depending on who you ask. It is important, though, that we make a commitment to continuous and open dialogue, and that we make room for everyone’s point of view.
As an Inuk woman, I am proud that Indigenous peoples are telling their stories. Our collective history cannot be told without Indigenous voices. And it cannot be told without some hard conversations. The recent findings of unmarked graves in many communities made us all pause to consider the impact of residential schools. But through the pain, I have seen Canadians from coast to coast to coast open their hearts and minds because they want to be part of reconciliation and the healing process.
As we mark this special day, I encourage all Canadians to learn about and share the important role each diverse Indigenous community plays in our past, present and future. Together, we can provide safe spaces for Indigenous stories, based on understanding, respect, healing and reconciliation.
Rideau Hall Press Office