June 21, 2023
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Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge—on this very important day and every day—that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people who have lived on and cared for this land for thousands of years.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day of celebration for all Indigenous peoples—First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It is a day to celebrate Indigenous culture, languages, identities and contributions to Canada. It is a day to celebrate all of our stories.
Today we are celebrating Indigenous stories. We are celebrating our culture and our contribution to Canada.
In celebrating those stories, we must also take a moment to recognize the challenges, hardships and trauma of those who were denied these very things:
- denied their culture and identities;
- denied the recognition of their value in our country.
Some, like the children who never made it home from residential schools, were denied the very right to life itself!
Raising this flag, on this day of celebration, recognizes that life is a compilation of moments, moments of joy and sorrow.
And while today we celebrate progress in reconciliation and the joy inherent in Indigenous culture, we do so in the shadow of the memory of children who died and suffered in residential schools, and the intergenerational trauma their families and communities continue to experience.
Canada will never forget as it looks to build a future where we are all celebrated, and all our stories are valued.