FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued by Nathalie Chiasson, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, on the occasion of National Aboriginal Day, June 21:
Today marks the start of summer and the start of the 12-day period of Celebrate Canada days, beginning with National Aboriginal Day and running through to Canada Day. It is appropriate that this period begins with a celebration of the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Metis. It is also appropriate that the theme for this year’s celebration is resilience.
As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary, we must recall that our history—both Canada’s and New Brunswick’s—began long before Confederation. Our written history begins with the original inhabitants of this land welcoming strangers arriving on their shores. They provided land for settlers, engaged in commerce, entered into peace-and-friendship treaties, shared knowledge and technology to thrive in this land, and fought in colonial wars. The fur trade—the mainstream economy for over 250 years as the settlers arrived—opened the continent to exploration and settlement and relied heavily on the participation and co-operation of indigenous people. It was this co-operation with indigenous people that made the foundation of Canada possible.
However, by the time of Confederation, all this had changed. In 1867, there were no chairs for the indigenous people at the confederation table. We cannot forget that our country was born and came of age without a basis of equality, respect and diversity toward First Nations, Inuit and Metis. Shortly after confederation, the Indian Act was passed, denying Indian status to those who attended university, and prohibiting indigenous people from voting, hiring lawyers to fight for land rights, travelling off reserves and even engaging in cultural activities. Natives in their own land, they were expected to assimilate, to abandon or lose their culture, religion, language, land and power, and “blend in.”
On this National Aboriginal Day, we celebrate the resilience of First Nations, Inuit and Metis. We celebrate the resilience that is reviving languages that had nearly been silenced. We celebrate the resilience that told the truth of residential schools and demanded attention for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, lower life expectancy, poorer health. We celebrate the resilience of communities that will not silently accept crushing poverty and hopelessness, or disproportionate rates of incarceration, suicide and high-school dropouts. We celebrate the incredible resilience that has changed Canada’s direction and won a national commitment to renew nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous peoples, based on rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
I encourage you to keep the spirit of this National Aboriginal Day alive throughout the year. Find opportunities to experience and learn about the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) cultures here in New Brunswick. Participate in the powwows, festivals and other indigenous cultural events that provide opportunities to share and experience of First Nations, Inuit and Metis culture, traditions and history.
The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission celebrates its own 50th anniversary this year. The commission understands the importance of resilience in defending each other’s rights and in expanding our understanding and protections for human rights. The basis of human rights is respect for the dignity and humanity of all people. Since 1967, the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission has defended and promoted human rights, stood against discrimination and welcomed diversity. We celebrate the resilience of indigenous people that continues to enrich our province and country by defending human rights.
Minister’s message for National Aboriginal Day – Government of NB
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following message was issued today by Service New Brunswick Minister Ed Doherty, who is also minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs:
It is my pleasure to join with all New Brunswickers in marking National Aboriginal Day on June 21 in celebration of the heritage, culture and contribution of aboriginal peoples across Canada.
This special day also symbolizes the historic relationship between the Crown and aboriginal peoples which led to the building of our great country.
In this 150th anniversary year for Canada, we can be especially proud of this important partnership, forged long before the time of Confederation, recognizing peace and friendship between both levels of government for all peoples.
Our province is truly fortunate to have the presence of our Maliseet and Mi’kmaq communities whose unique histories, traditions and beliefs continue to enrich our culture and contribute to our diversity and quality of life.
As part of National Aboriginal Day, the many contributions of our First Nations will be recognized with flag-raising ceremonies at the legislative assembly.
The 2017 theme of resilience is important to our First Nations people and should be respected by all New Brunswickers.
Events Around Fredericton
National Aboriginal Day at the New Brunswick Museum
June 21 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Celebrate National Aboriginal Day at the New Brunswick Museum. Free Admission. Join the NBM for a day filled with art creation, storytelling and other demonstrations celebrating the Indigenous people in New Brunswick. (Bilingual)
National Aboriginal Day (Fredericton)
June 21, 2016 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
“UNB Celebrates Indigenous Cultures and Contributions”
We invite you to come celebrate National Aboriginal Day with us at the , University of New Brunswick, on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 from 10AM to 3PM in Room 143 of Marshall d’Avray Hall.
We will be honouring our Wolastoqi, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy and Métis Ancestors with songs and dances, storytelling, Wabanaki artists, displays of Wabanaki art and cultural artifacts, and a panel discussion regarding language revival, reconciliation framework, Peace and Friendship Treaties, and more.
Please join us on June 21st as we celebrate this special day.
Natalie Sappier: Special performance
Natalie Sappier – Samaqani Cocahq is a New Brunswick Wolastoqiyik Indigenous artist turned playwright; her debut play “Finding Wolastoq Voice” is featured in Theatre New Brunswick 2017-2018 touring season. She is a fierce voice full of passion and pride of her Wolastoq roots.
On June 21st, National Aboriginal day, Samaqani will share stories through spoken word, traditional song and original music created for this day, on the front steps of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Accompanied by her friend and musician Nate Miller, she will speak of some of the ancestral teachings that have strongly influenced her life and share through her Indigenous spirit her questions of guidance and knowledge she seeks while on the healing path of Truth and Reconciliation.