Statement for National Aboriginal Day 2016

(OTTAWA) June 21, 2016 – The Green Party of Canada issued the following statement for National Aboriginal Day:

“Today, on the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, all Canadians have an opportunity to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of the Indigenous peoples of Canada,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).

“The legacy of residential schools and the inter-generational pain it caused will not be healed overnight. We must be committed to truly staying the course, respecting First Nations on a nation-to-nation basis, and acknowledging the constitutional rights of Inuit and Métis peoples,” Ms. May said.

Lorraine Rekmans, Green Party Indigenous Affairs Critic, said: “A lot has changed in the past 20 years since we first began recognizing Indigenous Nations on National Aboriginal Day. Canada has since signed onto the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we have undertaken a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to uncover traumatic abuses in the state sanctioned residential schools system, the government of Canada has issued an apology for this horrible past, and now we are about to embark on an inquiry into the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada.

“The challenges before us are great, with a lack of clean drinking water in many communities, and a lack of appropriate health care for many people. In spite of this, I remain hopeful that we are standing on the threshold of a new beginning towards better relationships between Canada and Indigenous peoples. Every year we have a chance to change and do better,” Ms. Rekmans said.

“As government, Indigenous peoples and stakeholders work collaboratively on rebuilding vital relationships, let us enjoy today as a celebration of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who help shape our multicultural society,” Ms. May concluded.