Human Rights Commission Recognizes National Aboriginal Day
June 21 2016
The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission recognizes National Aboriginal Day, which is celebrated on June 21. First established in 1996, this year’s National Aboriginal Day is celebrating 20 years of strong and vibrant cultures and traditions of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission commends the work of provincial Aboriginal groups and recognizes the importance of the activities taking place across the province to celebrate National Aboriginal Day. All Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are encouraged to participate in these events to honour the rich and diverse culture of the Aboriginal people in this province and to join in the celebrations through social media using the hashtag #NADCanada.
Events being held today include:
- The St. John’s Native Friendship Centre is hosting a sunrise ceremony at Bannerman Park, followed by breakfast at the centre and further celebrations at Pippy Park.
- The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band is celebrating in Corner Brook with a full day of events at Margaret Bowater Park including wampum belt crafting, drum making demonstration and barbeque.
- The Labrador Friendship Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is hosting a community gathering with traditional food and Inuit throat singers and drummers at the town square.
- The community of Nain has organized a full day of events including a fishing contest, community feast with traditional food and traditional games for all ages.
A more complete listing of National Aboriginal Day events in Newfoundland and Labrador is available here:
“National Aboriginal Day is a prime opportunity for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to learn more about our rich Indigenous cultures, spiritual beliefs, and heritage, and to partake in building relationships with one another, rooted in mutual respect and appreciation for one another.”
– Remzi Cej, Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission
In December of 2015, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, as a member of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), committed its support to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with those involved in implementing the Calls to Action. This year also saw the settlement of a near decade-long class action law suit between the Federal Government and residential school survivors of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On the occasion of Human Rights Day 2015, Mr. Calvin White was named a “Human Rights Champion” at the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award ceremony. This recognition is granted to someone who has made a meaningful, lifelong contribution to human rights in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the recipient is generally chosen by members of the Selection Committee. Mr. White has advocated for the rights of Mi’kmaq people of this province since the 1960s and has made a lifelong commitment to social justice causes. He is a recipient of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. Remzi Cej, Chair of the Commission, will attend the 10th Annual Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Powow with the Honourable Frank Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, to present Mr. White with the Champion Certificate on July 9, 2016.
“As we celebrate National Aboriginal Day, let us also remember the oppression and systemic discrimination to which the Indigenous People of Newfoundland and Labrador were subjected under the Residential School system. Today, we are more aware of that part of our history because of the courage, patience, and determination of Indigenous human rights advocates and allies in Newfoundland and Labrador who sought to address that injustice. Let us remember and do our part to ensure discrimination and injustice become relics of the past.”
– Mr. Cej
The Human Rights Act, 2010 protects Aboriginal persons from discrimination based on race, ancestry, sex and the other characteristics outlined in the act. The Human Rights Commission conducts public education and training sessions in order to make the public aware of their respective human rights and responsibilities.
The Human Rights Commission can be contacted at 729-2709 or by email at [email protected] to arrange an information session. Or follow us on Twitter @nlhumanrights.
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Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commissionr