OTTAWA, June 21, 2013 /CNW/ - This National Aboriginal Day, Assembly of
First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo draws
attention to the contributions and accomplishments of First Nations
driving change and encourages governments and all Canadians to support
these efforts in the spirit of renewed relationships and
"June 21 marks a critical time for First Nations in this country - a
time of growing momentum toward the transformative change required for
our peoples today, not tomorrow," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo,
referencing recent and upcoming important anniversaries - five years
since the historic Apology for residential schools and 250 years since
the Royal Proclamation, which first affirmed Treaty relationships and
obligations between First Nations and the Crown.
"This is a critical moment, where the needs and opportunities are far
too great not to act. Now is the time for action to match words.
First Nations cannot and will not wait, and we must see concrete action
by governments to support our efforts," said National Chief Atleo.
"First Nation leaders, citizens and Nations are driving change for the
better from coast to coast to coast, addressing challenges head-on and
based on priorities driven by the peoples and communities, and anchored
in our Treaties and inherent rights. This means schools for our
children, homes for our families, fair and equitable health and
education systems and the ability to drive our own economies to achieve
prosperity for all of us."
The notion of a national holiday celebrating the contributions of
Indigenous peoples in Canada was called for by AFN in 1982, then known
as the National Indian Brotherhood. A day already known by many as
Solidarity Day was formally recognized by the federal government as
National Aboriginal Day in 1996 - now a day celebrated every June 21
during National Aboriginal Awareness Month, also recognized by the
The term "Aboriginal" refers to the three distinct Indigenous groups in
Canada - First Nations, Métis and Inuit. In connection with the summer
solstice, special events and gatherings take place across the country
celebrating First Nation, Métis and Inuit contributions and
accomplishments, cultures, traditions and languages.
"Today and every day I encourage all Canadians to stand with First
Nations, Métis and Inuit in this country to understand and celebrate
the many important contributions and accomplishments of our peoples,
and to support further progress in ways that respect Indigenous
rights," said National Chief Atleo. "I commend all Indigenous peoples
and all Canadians participating in events across the country, and
congratulate the many cities, towns and communities collaborating and
joining Indigenous nations and peoples in activities and celebrations
today. Together we will draw much needed attention to the contributions
and accomplishments of Indigenous peoples and move one step closer to
renewed relationships and reconciliation."
AFN encourages all Canadians to learn more about the diverse Indigenous
cultures of Canada by taking part in cultural events this June.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms,
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
For further information:
Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or email@example.com