Statement - Minister Bennett Acknowledges International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA, Aug. 9, 2017 /CNW/ - The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, issued the following statement today:

"Today is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples – a day to acknowledge First Nation, Inuit and Métis cultures, traditional knowledge and the rich contributions they make to this diverse country.

This year's theme is the 10th Anniversary of the United Nation Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our Government adopted the United Nation Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples without reservation or qualification. I would like to thank Indigenous leaders and the many Canadians who worked for years to realize the vision of that Declaration.

In direct response to the Declaration, the Prime Minister established a working group of Ministers to review federal laws and policies impacting Indigenous peoples. We are working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to change laws that were designed and written in a paternalistic and colonial way.This means that our laws will align with the Declaration, and reflect Canada's constitutional obligations to treaty and Aboriginal rights which, for far too long, have not been properly respected. The review will also ensure that our laws adhere to international human rights standards, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and support the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action.

Engaging with Indigenous peoples, at all stages of policy and program development and implementation, and upholding principles such as the duty to consult, are vital to strengthening relationships and advancing reconciliation. Indigenous voices must be heard at the highest levels of our government and we must work together in the full spirit of cooperation and partnership.

The Government of Canada takes the journey of reconciliation very seriously; it guides everything we do. Reconciliation is not just the work of governments, however. It is about all Canadians – Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike – working together to achieve a fundamental shift in the way we perceive and interact with each other for the betterment of ourselves and our country. I encourage all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, to take this day as an opportunity to reflect on our past and to see their own personal role in reconciliation.

This statement is also available on the Internet at

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SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

For further information: Media may contact: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 613-697-8316; INAC Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160

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