Victoria – Premier John Horgan and Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, have issued the following statement marking National Indigenous Peoples Day:
“On National Indigenous Peoples Day, we honour the leadership, resilience and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples throughout British Columbia and across Canada. It is a day to recognize the immense contributions of Indigenous peoples to every facet of our province.
“As we honour and celebrate Indigenous communities today, we must also recognize the systemic racism, discrimination and intergenerational trauma Indigenous peoples have experienced and continue to experience. These harms are a daily, lived reality for Indigenous peoples.
“We acknowledge and share the grief with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, and all residential school survivors and their families, as they mourn for their stolen children. We know there are many other sites throughout our province that are still the source of unanswered questions and unimaginable pain for Indigenous communities. We still have much work ahead of us.
“So, today on National Indigenous Peoples Day, we recognize that reconciliation is a hard and essential journey that we will make together. Our government recognizes the responsibility we have to advance reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous peoples, and we are walking this journey side by side.
“The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples remains a touchstone on our path forward together. Through B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, we are working closely with Indigenous peoples on a draft action plan to meet the objectives of the UN Declaration. The act sets us on a path that recognizes and respects Indigenous rights as human rights, creates more opportunities for people and communities, and commits our government – and future governments – to action on reconciliation, not just words.
“As we face our collective truth on the generational impacts of our colonial history, let us work together and take action, so we can better understand our shared history, accept and learn from it and work together to make things right. Together, we will continue to build a more equal and more inclusive British Columbia for generations to come.”