Today, on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we celebrate the First Nations of Ontario, Canada, and around the world.
Long before the birth of the province of Ontario, Indigenous peoples lived and thrived on this land for centuries. Since then, and continuing to the present day, Indigenous peoples have celebrated their cultures, laws, languages and traditions.
While First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples have shaped this country and this province, we must also recognize the centuries of mistreatment and injustice at the hands of our country. Their history was stolen from them and their ways of life were threatened by erasure and extinction. The alarming loss of Indigenous languages is a stain on the history of Canada’s most important relationship.
In spite of history and in the spirit of reconciliation, we celebrate International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. We will commit ourselves to supporting them in their efforts to protect and reclaim their languages, traditions and cultures, and we look forward to building a relationship with them that is built on respect, recognition and partnership.
While this year, festivities are virtual, I encourage everyone to learn more about the Indigenous cultures and traditions in Ontario and around the world.