June 1, 2017
(Ottawa, ON) – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde encourages First Nations and all Canadians to take part in cultural events and other celebrations in honour of National Aboriginal History Month held every June and National Aboriginal Day on June 21.
“National Aboriginal History Month gives Canadians an opportunity to learn about their Indigenous neighbours and build a new relationship that is based on understanding and a mutual desire for a positive future. Education on First Nations, history, rights and Treaties can help build a foundation for positive change for all of us,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “As Canadians celebrate their 150th year as a nation, let’s join together to learn about First Nation cultures, languages and traditions as well as the many contributions First Nations peoples have made to Canada’s history. The movement across the country of acknowledging traditional territory is a simple and honourable way to respect the past and teach new generations about history. But we also want Canadians to learn that despite the genocide from the residential school system, in spite of the colonization and control of the Indian Act, and everything we have endured as First Nations Peoples, we are still here, we are getting stronger and we are getting louder.”
AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde recently sent a letter to the Prime Minister, proposing that the words “Indigenous Peoples” replace “Aboriginal” in the name of National Aboriginal Day and National Aboriginal History Month. This would bring it in line with the current terms used by the United Nations. In 2013, Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution calling for the Government of Canada to declare June 21 a National Holiday known as Indigenous Peoples Day.
The term “Aboriginal” refers to the three distinct Indigenous peoples in Canada – First Nations, Métis and Inuit. In connection with the summer solstice, special events and gatherings take place across the country celebrating First Nation, Métis and Inuit contributions and accomplishments, cultures, traditions and languages.
National Aboriginal History Month is recognized by the federal government every June in an effort to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The notion of a national holiday celebrating the Indigenous peoples in Canada was called for by AFN in 1982. A day already known by many as National Aboriginal Solidarity Day was formally recognized by the federal government as National Aboriginal Day in 1996.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
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