Message from President Russell in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It is a day when people from diverse backgrounds celebrate the rich culture and history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. For Indigenous peoples, it is an opportunity to reflect and tell our truth, our own story, in our own place. It is about honouring and valuing who we are, as Inuit, in a respectful way and the great contributions of our people.
This year, we are celebrating this important day differently. For many of us, it will be virtually from our own homes, providing us with another example of how the COVID-19 global pandemic is impacting our daily lives. Over the past few weeks, we have also seen a worldwide movement against racism in all its forms, with many people coming together to stand up for equality and justice. This movement has highlighted the systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in Canada. Like many other Indigenous Peoples, NunatuKavut Inuit have faced racism and have lived through colonization for generations. This has impacted our language, culture, knowledge systems, education and way of life. We have survived this great adversity by relying on the strength of our culture, by supporting one another, by caring for another and doing the hard work that was necessary. Our story is one of determination, belonging and rescilience, right here in our place.
This date also marks summer solstice. As we welcome this new season, we are reminded of all we have accomplished together through collective hard work and persistence. The NunatuKavuvt Community Council is stronger as a Inuit governing body and we are stronger as a people. When we gathered at our Annual General Assembly in January, there was a sense of togetherness and community. We continue to strengthen our right to self-government and the management of our lands, waters and resources, which is vital to our very survival. We remember and honour our ancestors for protecting our land and waters and for always reminding us of our longstanding connection to our traditional places, to home. And we proudly fly our flag, which is a symbol of our beautiful home and way of life.
I thank all those who have walked and continue to walk on this journey as partners and allies, as supporters and contributors. We also appreciate those who were part of the call to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to stop the celebration of Discovery Day in this province. And we acknowledge Premier Ball for responding in such a positive way to immediately end the observance of a day that perpetrates colonialist policies and carries with it an inaccurate and misleading understanding of history. This was a simple and important act of reconciliation.
On behalf of the NunatuKavut Community Council and all NunatuKavut Inuit, I wish you a happy and enjoyable National Indigenous Peoples Day.
President Todd Russell