Feds mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

·2 min read

The federal ministers responsible for Indigenous services and relations in Canada said this week much work has been done on undoing Canada’s past colonial policies – but that there is much work left to do as they marked International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Tuesday.

“There is so much more work ahead to address the devastating legacy of colonialism that generated lasting inequalities in access to justice, infrastructure, economic, social and health services between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada and abroad,” said Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Marc Miller, Indigenous Services minister Patty Hajdu and Northern Relations minister Daniel Vandal in a joint statement marking the day. “Our government is steadfast in our commitment to ending these inequities.”

After a tumultuous 12 months for Indigenous-government relations in Canada after the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves at a former Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., the ministers took time to note the role of women in Indigenous culture and life.

“With this year’s theme of ‘The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge,’ we honour the vital role women have held and continue to hold with their leadership, strength, expertise, and diversity, along with the place of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in the preservation and continuation of traditional culture,” they wrote, citing some of the ways in which the feds have moved to make life safer and easier on Indigenous women, in particular.

“First Nations, Inuit and Métis are leading the way in restoring their traditional knowledge, revitalizing language, as well as sharing stories of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and their vital role in the very essence of their communities across Turtle Island. Our government remains committed to supporting them while understanding they know what is needed in this important work and giving them space to complete such works,” they said.

The ministers wrote that much work remains ahead of them, but that it is promising to see more collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the interests of reconciliation.

“Indigenous voices, knowledge, and values must remain at the centre of our collective efforts. We encourage all Canadians to learn more about and celebrate the unique histories, cultures and traditions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada, and to reflect on ways they can personally contribute to reconciliation as we continue to work together to build a better and more inclusive future for all,” they wrote.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase