Canada Post will mark National Indigenous History Month – celebrated throughout the month of June – as well as National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 with a set of stamps honouring Canadian Indigenous leaders and pioneers.
The set will be released as a whole on June 21, but individual ceremonies unveiling the individual stamps will be held in coming weeks, Canada Post said.
Canada Post will issue a new set of stamps to pay tribute to the lives and legacies of three Indigenous leaders; Harry Daniels, Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and Jose Kusugak will each be featured on a stamp in recognition of their incredible commitment and contributions to strengthening the Métis, First Nations and Inuit communities they served.
Harry Daniels (1940-2004) was a politician, activist, writer and actor who dedicated his life to the rights and well-being of Métis and non-status Indians in Canada. Among his most important contributions was ensuring their inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples by lobbying to have them included as one of the Indigenous Peoples recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982, and recognized as “Indians” under the British North America Act, 1867. In March 2004, he was awarded the Order of the Métis Nation by the Métis National Council.
The stamp honouring Daniels will be released Monday in Regina.
Jose Kusugak (1950-2011) was an Inuit activist, linguist and broadcaster who played a critical role in the efforts that led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999 – for which many consider him a Father of Confederation. He dedicated his life to raising awareness of Inuit identity and issues in Canada, as well as promoting and preserving Inuit language and culture, and coined the phrase ‘First Canadians, Canadians First’ to describe his people. Kusugak was also part of the first generation of Inuit children who were sent to Residential Schools. The stamp featuring Kusugak will be released Tuesday morning in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
The third stamp will feature Metis Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier will be unveiled next Wednesday in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. Day Walker-Pelletier, who was born in 1954, spent nearly 40 years as leader of the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan – the most consecutive terms ever served by an elected First Nations chief in Canada. She led several projects related to education, wellness and social reform, while also working to preserve the culture, language and traditions of her people. In 2018, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. This spring, she was in the Indigenous delegation that met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss the Catholic Church’s role in the Residential School system, of which she is a survivor.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase