National Indigenous Peoples Day commemorated in Sioux Lookout
Tim Brody - Editor
The Lac Seul First Nation flag was raised during a special ceremony at the Travel Information Centre on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day.
“I bring greetings and well-wishes to all Indigenous people in this town and the surrounding area and right across Canada and I want express happy National Indigenous Peoples Day to each and every one of you,” shared Lac Seul First Nation Chief Clifford Bull.
“I also want to talk about the many contributions that Indigenous leaders, peoples, made to make Canada what it is today. We thank them for their great work, and I also want to talk about reflection, reflecting on today, think about the history of how we came to be Canada and think about some of our struggles that First Nations have endured for the past many decades. Today I’m thinking about missing and murdered young women and girls, over representation of our Indigenous men and women in our institutions and penitentiaries. We think about residential school and children that never came home. We think about children in the child welfare system. But most of all, I think about that fact that we are still here despite what has been done to us through assimilation and colonization. We are a proud and resilient people, and we will continue to remain so.”
During the ceremony, Bull presented Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance with a special gift, a t-shirt.
“We’re going to be searching (the former) Pelican Indian Residential School and this is our logo. It depicts a mother with two children with her arms around and bigger arms at the bottom signifying the love, kindness, of a family unit and the need to look at these areas and bring those children home that are missing.”
Mayor Doug Lawrance shared in a proclamation, “National Indigenous Peoples Month provides an opportunity to acknowledge the unique achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit in fields as diverse as agriculture, the environment, business and the arts,” adding, “National Indigenous Peoples Month gives many people the chance to learn more about Aboriginal people and their contributions towards the country’s development and progress. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have the opportunity to showcase their cultures and achievements throughout Canada.”
Lawrance commented, “On June 21, 2012, a Friendship Accord was signed by The Municipality of Sioux Lookout, Lac Seul First Nation and Slate Falls First Nation. This Accord centered on relationship building, partnership dynamics, current challenges that the communities are facing and opportunities to work collaboratively to address these challenges. Since the original Accord was signed, the First Nation communities of Cat Lake and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug have also become signatories to the Accord.”
Lawrance also highlighted that, “On August 3, 2016, the Sioux Lookout Municipal Council passed By-Law No. 106-16 to create the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. The Committee’s purpose is to provide leadership, education, and action on Municipal responses to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action. To build new relationships between the Municipality and Indigenous people.”
Darlene Angeconeb, Chair of the Municipal Truth and Reconciliation Committee, stated, “We are here as Indigenous Peoples and it is our day, so we hope you can take in information about Indigenous people… As Chief Clifford Bull has said, we have survived a lot of things and we’re still here. We’re proud of who we are. We hope healing happens for the communities and I think that’s what our wish is for today.”