Have the ‘hard conversations’ about Indigenous history: Simon
Governor General’s National Indigenous Peoples Day message urges Canadians to enjoy the day, while reflecting on the history
Governor General Mary Simon marked National Indigenous Peoples Day with a message to Canadians to have a “wonderful and reflective” day, but to not shy away from “hard conversations” on the road to reconciliation.
“During the last year, I have delighted in visiting Indigenous people where they live and work — where culture is thriving and where their contributions to every part of our society is celebrated,” Simon said in a statement Tuesday.
This is the first National Indigenous Peoples Day for Simon since she became Canada’s first Indigenous governor general in July 2021.
“As an Inuk woman, I am proud that Indigenous peoples are telling their stories. Our collective history cannot be told without Indigenous voices, and it cannot be told without some hard conversations,” she said, reflecting on the hundreds of unmarked graves that have been located at former residential schools across the country.
“Through the pain, I have seen Canadians from coast to coast to coast open their hearts and minds because they want to be part of reconciliation and the healing process,” she said.
“We all approach reconciliation from different perspectives, and its definition is fluid depending on who you ask. It is important, though, that we make a commitment to continuous and open dialogue, and that we make room for everyone’s point of view.”
A spokesperson for the governor general’s office said in an email to Nunatsiaq News that Simon will attend the opening day of the Summer Solstice festival in Ottawa to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also issued a statement, calling for Canadians to learn more about Inuit, First Nations and Métis cultures and histories.
“On this day, and throughout National Indigenous History Month, we recognize the significant contributions of Indigenous Peoples in shaping our country into what it is today and moving toward a brighter and stronger Canada as shared partners,” he said.
“Being the longest day of the year, it is also the day that has the most light. As we continue to shine light on the hard truths of the past, let us also shine a light of hope for the future.”