Trudeau marks National Aboriginal Day with promise to strengthen relations, rename day

Published On June 21, 2017 | By Nathalie Leveille | Life, News, Politics

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says he welcomes the move by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rename National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Courtesy: Canadian Press)

By: Brandon Choghri

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked National Aboriginal Day with a pledge to build government-to-government relations and rename it National Indigenous Peoples Day.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Trudeau said the government is committed to making 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.

“No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples,” he said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

Trudeau also addressed those that have voiced their criticisms of the Canada 150 celebrations in an effort to move forward together.

“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.”

The Prime Minister will speak at an event at noon ET at 100 Wellington St. in Ottawa, a heritage building and former United States embassy that will become a space dedicated to Inuit, Métis and First Nations communities.

NDP MP Georgina Jolibois has tabled a private member’s bill to make National Aboriginal Day a national statutory holiday.

“The timing of this bill is significant for many people because while many are celebrating Canada 150, few are recognizing the sad realities and history of Indigenous Peoples. This recognition is necessary for reconciliation, and a renewed and sincere nation-to-nation relationship,” Jolibois said in the statement. “We can’t change the past; however, we can be honest and educate ourselves so that history does not repeat itself.”

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