National Aboriginal Day is a time both to celebrate the history and cultural diversity of Canada’s First Peoples, and to reflect on how much remains to be done to break down barriers of systemic racism and discrimination in Canadian society.
Canada’s 1.4 million First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples represent the country’s youngest and fastest-growing population.
Yet Aboriginal peoples in Canada continue to face disproportionately higher rates of poverty, addiction, housing insecurity, and violence. A report released last month by the RCMP indicates Aboriginal women currently face a homicide rate nearly four times higher than the national average.
“On National Aboriginal Day, we ask all Canadians to commit to learning more about the history and the many contributions of Canada’s First Peoples, so that we can truly honour them through meaningful policy,” said Lorraine Rekmans, Green Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic and a member of Ontario’s Serpent River First Nation.
“National Aboriginal Day is a reminder that as settlers, we must always work harder to be allies and to overcome the legacy of colonialism in this country,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “For BC residents who increasingly look to First Nations for leadership to stop the reckless Enbridge twinned toxic pipeline, on this day we commit ourselves to support the Alberta and BC First Nations who have resolved to stop the supertankers and pipelines.”