Canadaian Governor General Mary Simon is on P.E.I. this week for her first official visit to the Island.
It began Monday with an official welcome ceremony involving the inspection of a military honour guard and performances by Mi'kmaw youth.
"It was pretty special because she's Indigenous like us," said nine-year-old Taya Wooldridge, who performed a traditional dance at the welcome ceremony alongside her brother Taite, who's 12.
The first day also included meetings and discussions with P.E.I. Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry, as well as Premier Dennis King and Mi'kmaw chiefs Darlene Bernard and Junior Gould.
"She is the King's representative, and we have a treaty signed with the Crown, so it's important that the Mi'kmaq are here today and that she's recognized us and she wants to speak to us," Bernard said of her conversation with Simon.
The Governor General took the opportunity to speak with local Indigenous leaders including Chief Junior Gould and Chief Darlene Bernard. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)
Simon, who was raised in a traditional Inuit lifestyle, is Canada's first Indigenous Governor General.
"We do need to have Indigenous peoples in these roles because not only are they role models, but it's to show that they have done work and that their work is being acknowledged," said Bernard.
The Governor General has a list of priorities to discuss for this trip, including reconciliation, mental health, and climate change.
Taya and Taite Wooldridge, accompanied by drummer Richard Lush, perform a traditional Mi'kmaw dance for Simon. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)
Perry said she especially connected with Simon on the topic of education.
"Whether it's reconciliation, whether it's trying to get more voters out for an election or whatever it is, education is the bottom line," said Perry, who's a retired teacher.
Simon's Monday events wrapped up with a visit to Serene View Ranch in Stratford. Tuesday, the second day of her visit, is set to include a visit to the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery, as well as the Canadian Centre for Climate Adaptation in St. Peters Bay.
Five-year-old Noah James Iluq Niaquttiaq Snider presented the Governor General with flowers during the welcome ceremony. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)
Perry says she was eager to show off the Island to her colleague.
"We have a reputation of being hospitable people. So we try to do the best we can to make sure that all aspects are covered," she said. "For the amount of time she's here, she's covering a lot of ground."
Simon will wrap up her visit to the Island on Wednesday with a visit to Charlottetown Rural High School, before travelling on to Halifax.