Today is National Aboriginal Day - an official day of celebration to recognize and honour the valuable contributions to Canadian society by Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. National Aboriginal Day is the same day as the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) and was chosen for its important symbolism to many Aboriginal peoples. More information can be viewed here. It was first recognized in 1990 by the Quebec National Assembly (Legislature) with national recognition by former Governor-General Romeo Leblanc in 1996
Later today - the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council is putting on a local parade/event celebrating National Aboriginal Day from 10am - 2:30pm. More details here
CBC News has done a wonderful interactive story on Canada's Indigenous Peoples which you can view here
Also - Canada's Prime Minister announced this morning that, starting in 2018, National Aboriginal Day would now be known as National Indigenous Peoples' Day. View his full statement below:
“Over twenty years ago, the Government of Canada, together with Indigenous organizations, designated this day – the summer solstice – as National Aboriginal Day.
“Every year, we join together on this day to recognize the fundamental contributions that First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation have made to the identity and culture of all Canadians. The history, art, traditions, and cultures of Indigenous Peoples have shaped our past, and continue to shape who we are today.
“No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Our Government is working together with Indigenous Peoples to build a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship – one based on respect, partnership, and recognition of rights.
“We are determined to make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous Peoples – by closing socio-economic gaps, supporting greater self-determination, and establishing opportunities to work together on shared priorities. We are also reviewing all federal laws and policies that concern Indigenous Peoples and making progress on the Calls to Action outlined in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish everyone a happy National Aboriginal Day. I invite all Canadians to take part in the #NADCanada activities in their community and to learn about the history, cultures and traditions of Indigenous Peoples. The 150th anniversary of Confederation this year reminds us of the legacy of the past. As we look forward to the next 150 years, we commit to move ahead together in a spirit of reconciliation and respect.
“This year, I am also pleased to announce that from here forward the Government’s intention is to rename this day National Indigenous Peoples Day.”
Finally - this day has always significance on a personal level as I'm always thankful for having/knowing Indigenous Peoples in my life including my Area's Alternate Director Phyllis Webstad, CRD Area 'J' Director Roger William, Cheryl Chapman from Xat'sull First Nations, Gord Keener - Xat'sull's Treaty Negotiator and also sits' on my Area's Advisory Planning Commission and Wayne Lucier who is Metis. All of these people, I greatly appreciate in my life, both political/personal and I thank you for what you provide me with in education and otherwise -- Sechanalyagh! (Thank You in Chilcotin) and Yerí7 skukwstsétsemc! (Thank You Very Much in Shuswap)