OTTAWA, ON, June 21, 2022 /CNW/ – I would like to wish all Canadians a wonderful and thoughtful National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of visiting Indigenous peoples where they live and work, where culture thrives, and where their contributions to every part of our society are celebrated. I have seen the resurgence of Indigenous languages, some near extinction, brought back from the brink by determined speakers. And I heard from indigenous young people, full of optimism for tomorrow, and also engaged in issues and facing challenges that will impact their future, such as education, food security and climate change.

Although much progress has been made in recent years, much remains to be done on the road to reconciliation. We all approach reconciliation from different angles, and its definition is fluid depending on who you ask. It is important, however, that we engage in ongoing and open dialogue, and that we allow room for each other’s point of view.

As an Inuk woman, I am proud that Indigenous people tell their stories. Our collective story cannot be told without Indigenous voices. And that can’t be said without some tough conversations. The discovery of unmarked graves in many communities over the past year has made us all reflect on the impact of residential schools. But through the pain, I have seen Canadians from coast to coast open their hearts and minds because they want to be part of the reconciliation and healing process.

As we mark this special day, I encourage all Canadians to discover and share the important role each diverse Indigenous community plays in our past, present and future. Together we can provide safe spaces for Indigenous stories, based on understanding, respect, healing and reconciliation.

Mary Simon

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SOURCE Governor General of Canada

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