June 21, National Aboriginal Day, is a day for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Indigenous Peoples in Canada; past, present and future. There are three Aboriginal groups in Canada – the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
The federal government proclaimed June 21 as National Aboriginal Day in 1996 after consultations with Aboriginal groups across Canada. That date has held significance to Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples for several generations. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) had called for a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be commemorated on June 21. Thirteen years later, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended that a National First Peoples Day be observed. That same year, 1995, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people – the Sacred Assembly – called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canada. National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed in 1996, by former Governor General Roméo A. LeBlanc.
The 94 Calls to Action from the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada reinforces the need for continued education, action and advocacy in the relationship between Aboriginal Peoples and Canada. All Canadians need to commit to reconciliation and to closing the gap in the quality of life between Aboriginal Peoples and Canadians. The time for Reconciliation is now!
The Canadian Union of Labour Employees, acknowledges the traditional territories of Aboriginal Peoples, where celebrations will be taking place on June 21. We will continue stand in solidarity with our Indigenous Sisters and Brothers from coast to coast to coast.