Minister Blair commemorates National Indigenous History Month 2021

June 22, 2021


Hello everyone, I'm Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

And I want to acknowledge that I'm speaking to you today from my homewhich is located on the traditional territory of the Mississauga of the Credit.

June is National Indigenous History Month in this country.

It's an opportunity for all of us to recognize and to learn more about the history, heritage, diversity and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.

This year, National Indigenous History Month is dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind and the survivors of residential schools.

Like everyone, I was profoundly saddened by the heartbreaking and horrific news that the remains of 215 children were found on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

This discovery is a painful reminder of the awful reality, the tragic legacy and the shame of the residential school system.

As the Prime Minister has said, “we cannot hide from this… and we have to own up to it.”

National Indigenous History Month also coincides this year with the launch of both the National Action Plan and the Federal Pathway to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

This ongoing national tragedy is a stain on our country's history.

And it must never be forgotten.

And, as we walk the shared path of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the Government of Canada is working to ensure that such tragedies never happen again.

Policing reform is a key part of this commitment.

My department and I are currently working hard to co-develop a legislative framework that recognizes First Nations policing as an essential service.

The goal is to ensure that communities across Canada have policing services that are culturally competent, and that are equitable, in both resources and quality, as those in every other part of Canada.

The Government also continues to take action to improve the safety of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people right across the country.

And we remain committed to addressing the inequalities and systemic racism against Indigenous Peoples that still exist within our criminal justice system and our public safety institutions.

We must – and will – do better for Indigenous communities across Canada.

That includes better educating ourselves about the historical treatment of Indigenous Peoples that continues even today, while also gaining a greater understanding of the rich and diverse cultures, voices and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

It's truly what National Indigenous History Month is all about.

And I encourage you all to join me in marking this important month by honouring and discovering the cultures and experiences of Canada's Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you all very much.

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