OTTAWA – On National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Green Party of Canada joins all Canadians in celebrating the unique and diverse cultural heritage and extraordinary contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to this country.
“Last year, I was proud to publish a joint statement with Racelle Kooy, member of Samahquam First Nation,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “In it, we said that National Indigenous Peoples Day is a moment when Indigenous Peoples have a clear platform to be loud and proud. It is a celebration that finds forms of expression through arts, politics, and community and is a chance for all of us to deepen our own understanding of First Nations, Métis Nation, and Inuit Peoples and our connection to our hosts and their laws, and stewardship of the lands we call home.
"The Green Party of Canada acknowledges the extraordinary patience and generosity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Peoples in the face of the injustices, empty promises, racism and yes, genocide they have endured. The time for words has long passed, and the time for action is now.
“The recent discovery of 215 children’s bodies buried at the former Kamploops Indian residential school on the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc reserve confirmed what many in that community and other First Nations communities across the country had feared. The grief and pain experienced by the families whose loved ones were taken is unimaginable.
“We urge the federal government, guided by Indigenous leadership, to immediately implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls To Action, including number #75: “to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, maintenance and protection of residential school cemeteries.” We have also suggested including additional measures.”
“Any sincere path towards reconciliation in Canada must ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation leaders are leading the decisions about the future of their Peoples, their lands and territories and must respect nation-to-nation relationships. This is an essential part of participatory democracy, and their leadership is needed at the decision-making table to guide our country through these times of unprecedented change.
“As settlers, we have much to learn from the original peoples of this land. Their stewardship and deep-rooted connection to terrestrial aquatic and marine environments provide us with critical guidance towards sustainability as we face the challenges of climate change.
“Much work remains to be done to achieve reconciliation,” said Ms. Paul. “Today, and every day, I encourage Canadians to seize every opportunity to deepen our understanding and appreciation of Indigenous cultures. I encourage every person in Canada to use the day to find a way to learn more about their hosts. Indigenous Peoples’ vibrant, diverse ways of knowing and being are fundamental to building a more equitable and inclusive future for us all.”
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