Culture

150 years of oppression and all we get is a day?

Some people say National Aboriginal Day is just a token gesture against a whole lot of injustice. I think it means more to us than that. The fact that there’s real healing taking place through the reconciliation movement is legitimizing our recovery from oppression.

It makes this day more meaningful for me. It helps me remember how far we’ve come.

So, what is National Aboriginal Day about?

Back in 1982, the Indian Brotherhood (today’s AFN) asked for National Aboriginal Solidarity Day. Quebec followed with a proposal for National Indigenous Day in 1991. Then the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People was released in 1995 and also called for a day of recognition.

After all of this, the Governor General named June 21st (the Summer Solstice) National Aboriginal Day in 1996.

National Aboriginal Day for me is an opportunity to celebrate who I am as a Native person, to show the world that our culture is alive, resilient and thriving despite the violence, racism and poverty. It’s our way of showing that we’re survivors and are growing and evolving. We’re not a piece of history. And for this, I look forward to the day of recognition.

What does it mean to you?

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