May 5, 2022
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Hello, bonjour, [Inuktitut greeting].
Thank you for inviting me to join you here today!
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am joining you today from Rideau Hall, which sits on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
Soon, you will all embark on a journey to learn about the traditional lands and cultures of the Indigenous people in Belize. We have so much to learn from each other’s stories.
Stories define us. They shape us. Our experiences, after all, make us who we are.
Indigenous peoples have told stories for centuries and longer, imparting history and legends, myths of creation and even practical advice on how to live off the land. It’s a sacred tradition found in many cultures.
No matter where we come from, what languages we speak, what we believe, we desire to pass on our wisdom to the next generation and to keep our culture alive and thriving.
As governor general, I consider it both a privilege and responsibility to learn and to share stories that I hear. Now that responsibility falls to you. As you travel in Belize, I encourage you to collect these stories and bring them back with you. Listen with understanding, respect and reconciliation in your hearts. And don’t forget to tell your stories as well.
Share the truth of history, both the good and the bad.
I wish you safe travels. I look forward to hearing from you and any questions you may have.
Thank you. Merci. Miigwetch. Nakurmiik.