OTTAWA, ON - Jun 21, 2017 – Assembly of First Nations Nation Chief Perry Bellegarde supports the new name for June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day – as a name consistent with the international recognition of Indigenous peoples and consistent with AFN resolution calling for the name change.
“I believe this small change is part of a larger movement towards recognition and acknowledgement that these lands are the homelands of Indigenous nations and cultures,” National Chief Perry Bellegarde said. “On behalf of the entire Assembly of First Nations, staff, and AFN Executive, I wish a happy National Indigenous Peoples Day to peoples from all walks of life. Today and every day we stand as proud First Nations peoples and will continue moving together toward reconciliation.”
June 21 formerly known as “National Aboriginal Day” was designated in 1996. The push towards the term ‘Indigenous’ has gained momentum in recent years. In 2013, AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution calling for a renaming of this day to Indigenous Peoples Day, and the establishment of a national holiday.
The official change to “Indigenous” brings the Canadian government in-line with the United Nations use of the word in international discussions as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Georgina Jolibois tabled a private member’s bill June 15 that would make National Aboriginal Day a statutory holiday across the country.
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The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.