SCUGOG: The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) are celebrating the appointment of the first Indigenous person to hold the role of Canada’s Governor General. On Tuesday, July 6th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of Mary Simon as the Queen’s representative in the country.
“Throughout her distinguished career, Ms. Simon has been a tireless advocate for Inuit rights and culture and the rights of all Indigenous peoples. Over four decades, she has held various senior leadership positions, including President of Makivik Corporation, where she helped to protect and promote Inuit rights through the implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. She also served two terms as President of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, now known as the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and as President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami,” a press release from the Prime Minister’s office explained. “As the first Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, Ms. Simon played a leading role in strengthening the ties between the people of the Arctic regions, nationally and internationally, including through the creation of the Arctic Council. She is also the founder of the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, and has served as the Ambassador of Canada to Denmark.”
In a press release, sent out on Wednesday, July 7th, the MSIFN stated this appointment is “an important step for all Indigenous people in Canada.”
“Her appointment is the type of movement toward reconciliation Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people in this country are yearning for,” the press release added.
Ms. Simon is an Inuk member from Northeastern Quebec.
“Hearing the new Governor General introduce herself in Inuktitut was a powerful moment to witness,” read a statement from Chief Kelly LaRocca. “Watching an Indigenous woman be named Governor General feels, in many ways, like a turning point, or so we can hope. I am glad to be represented at this level of government. On behalf of the MSIFN council and our members, we would like to congratulate Ms. Simon for her accomplishments and her appointment.”
Chief LaRocca added she hopes Ms. Simon “will use her position to persuade the Government of Canada to act on its promises to Indigenous peoples.”
Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper