Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples marks National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21, 2021 - Defence Stories

Today, more than ever, it is important for all of us to join together to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD). This year is Canada’s 25th NIPD (the 26th in the Province of Alberta) and I am humbled to hold the title of Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples as we recognize this occasion together.

As you know, June is National Indigenous History Month. June 21, the summer solstice, holds great spiritual significance to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples alike. And it is commemorated in different ways across cultures in the Northern Hemisphere, where appreciation for the promise of summer crosses all national and cultural borders.

Here in Canada, it is only fitting that we dedicate the longest day of the year to showing our appreciation of Indigenous Peoples and the ways they enrich our culture. This year for NIPD, I  encourage all Defence Team members to learn more about Indigenous Peoples and their history through the use of resources developed by, or in collaboration with, Indigenous organizations.

With that in mind, I encourage you to embark on your own learning process with these National Indigenous Organizations:

If you have an interest in the history of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples’ military service, Veterans Affairs Canada has an excellent introduction. Additionally, our colleagues at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada have compiled an Indigenous Reads list of titles that will enhance your understanding of Indigenous cultures in both historic and contemporary contexts.

Learning is, of course, a lifelong pursuit. And, while days of significance like NIPD are important, we as a Defence Team must commit to learning and improving every day. We must continue to acknowledge and commemorate the valued contributions of our Indigenous colleagues and veterans. We must continue to embrace Indigenous spirituality and culture within our ranks. We must stay committed to doing our part of the work of reconciliation through culture change to foster diversity through employment equity.

If we strive to learn and improve together, in the spirit of unity and understanding, we will grow stronger, more proud, and more ready to serve and defend Canada.

Major-General Michel-Henri St-Louis
Acting Commander Canadian Army
Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples

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