PMO – Prime Minister of Canada on National Aboriginal Day

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Aboriginal Day

June 21, 2011
Ottawa, Ontario
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark National Aboriginal Day:
“Today we honour and celebrate Aboriginal peoples in Canada on this, the 15th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day.
“In addition to their remarkable art and culture, which continue to be an integral part of Canadian identity, Aboriginal peoples make enormous contributions to this country every day in all areas of endeavour. Today represents an opportunity to recognize their vast contributions and their key role in ensuring our future prosperity.
“Our Government is committed to working with Aboriginal communities, as well as provinces and territories, to provide Aboriginal people with the education and tools they need to reach their full potential and achieve a higher quality of life for their families.
“Substantial investments benefiting Aboriginal peoples continue to be made through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, in such areas as housing, health, child and family services, and education. Moving forward, we will also continue to implement our Northern Strategy which will benefit Aboriginal people living in these regions of the country.
“Our Government is also working with the Assembly of First Nations on the new Canada-First Nations Joint Action Plan to improve the lives of First Nation people across Canada.
“Together, we will address the barriers to social and economic participation that many Inuit, Métis and First Nations peoples face. We will work to ensure Aboriginal people have the same benefits and rights as their fellow Canadians.
“I encourage all Canadians to take part in the National Aboriginal Day celebrations being held across the country.”

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The Prime Minister’s Office – Communications

National Aboriginal Day or First Nations Day was created by people in the First Nations community in 1982. National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed in 1996 by former Governor General Romeo A. LeBlanc. The following is an excerpt of the text of the proclamation to make National Aboriginal Day an official day of celebration recognized by the Crown.

WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada recognizes the existing rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;

WHEREAS in the constitution of Canada “Aboriginal peoples of Canada” include the Indian, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada;

WHEREAS the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have made and continue to make valuable contributions to Canadian society and it is considered appropriate that there be, in each year, a date to mark and celebrate these contributions and to recognize the different cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;

AND WHEREAS many Aboriginal peoples celebrate the summer solstice, which has an important symbolism within their cultures;

THEREFORE, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, hereby directs that a proclamation do issue declaring June 21st of each year as “National Aboriginal Day.”

National Aboriginal Day is an event that is growing in importance in Canada.

June 21st, the Summer Solstice, is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and marks the changing of seasons. It is seen by many peoples to be a day of great symbolism. Many schools will be acknowledging National Aboriginal Day and the Summer Solstice through activities that promote understanding and learning for all students.

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