Statement by Ministers Bennett, O'Regan, and Rodriguez on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Indigenous Services, Seamus O'Regan, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, Pablo Rodriguez, issued the following statement today:
"Today marks the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. We know that one day alone cannot express the innumerable contributions of Indigenous Peoples and communities around the world, but we hope that all Canadians take this opportunity to reflect and celebrate these achievements.
2019 marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages. It is also the theme of this year's International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. According to UNESCO, three-quarters of the 90 Indigenous languages in Canada are considered endangered. As language is essential to Indigenous Peoples' identity and culture, the Government of Canada recognizes it must act with urgency, along with Indigenous Peoples, to reverse that trend.
We reached a major milestone this year towards reclaiming, revitalizing, maintaining and strengthening Indigenous languages as the Indigenous Languages Act was granted Royal Assent. This represents an important step on the path to reconciliation. Together with Indigenous Peoples, we are working hard to ensure that Indigenous languages can flourish across the country.
Unfortunately, too many Canadians still do not know the histories and contributions of Indigenous peoples. There is much to learn, and today provides a real opportunity for all to listen and understand how Indigenous Peoples have helped shape our world. Now, as we embark on a new path, we are acknowledging the wrongs of the past and looking towards Indigenous Peoples and communities to help shape the world of tomorrow.
In Canada, we are seeing the profound impact that strong and productive collaboration with Indigenous Peoples – based on the recognition of rights, respect and partnership – can have. Every day, the Government of Canada continues to collaborate with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners across the country through negotiation and dialogue to co-develop agreements that advance reconciliation and address community priorities, including governance, education, language, closing socio-economic gaps, and addressing historical wrongs.
Today marks an opportunity for us all to commit to reconciliation, regardless of our background and to be guided by the standards set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Together, we can truly make reconciliation an action, and not just a concept. We wish all of you a memorable International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples."
Join the conversation about Indigenous peoples in Canada: