Message from the Governor General on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

August 9, 2023

Today, I want to applaud the young Indigenous peoples around the world who are acting as agents of change. They are working in their communities and further afield to fight for Indigenous rights and to address some of the most pressing global challenges, including climate change, inequality, injustice and more. Indigenous youth have found their voice and are moving forward on issues of self-determination. 

I have always said that Indigenous peoples around the world deserve a seat at the table. They need to be directly involved in the decisions that impact their lives, and this is especially true for young people.

I have seen the devastation and injustice that is wrought when policies are made without input from Indigenous peoples. When policies are imposed and enforced. Families and communities are torn apart; entire generations are left to struggle with deep, painful scars.

Yet, I have also seen the resilience, perseverance and ingenuity of Indigenous peoples. I have seen resurgence in culture, traditional arts and languages. Indigenous peoples of all ages are creating meaningful change, and we should listen to and learn from their experience, knowledge and creativity.

Despite all this progress, we still have much work to do to ensure that Indigenous peoples can access the same opportunities and services as non-Indigenous peoples, both in Canada and around the world. I am inspired by the efforts of every person who is making their community and this planet better and stronger.

Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples acting together—and moving forward together—is central to reconciliation.

As we mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, let us strive to create an inclusive world where all peoples can thrive and grow, in peace and freedom, and where all voices can finally be heard.

Mary Simon

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office

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