Elliot Lake – NDP MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, Michael Mantha, issued the following statement marking the National Indigenous Peoples Day:
“First Nations, Inuit and Métis, as the first peoples on this land, have a rich history that is essentially the very history of our country. Indigenous Peoples contribution to Canada has and continues to be essential to its development. We celebrate on June 21 the summer solstice. For many Indigenous peoples and communities, the summer solstice has an important significance and is a day celebrating their culture and heritage.
Since 1996 we celebrate this day as a country, highlighting the integral role that Indigenous Peoples have played in our history. First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations have an historic connection to the land we call Ontario. They have, and continue to contribute to the strengthening our province. New Democrats recognize this and want to continue working cooperatively with Indigenous Peoples to bring awareness and understanding to their culture and heritage.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day is an important part of the process of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. June 21 is a most appropriate day to reflect on the cultural and historical contribution from Indigenous Peoples in Canada and value this unique relationship. As well it also gives us pause to recognize the injustices Indigenous communities continue to face right now. We must address these issues and work hand in hand with Indigenous Peoples to make sure that they have access to safe drinking water, adequate health care, equitable education, quality housing, economic opportunity, and clean air, water and land.”