Statement on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples


August 9, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, today issued the following statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:

“Today we renew our pledge to listen to, learn from and work together with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and around the world. It’s important to recognize that Indigenous Peoples have always been here and that we all have a role to play in achieving reconciliation.”

“Canada took an important step in this direction when the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples became the law of the land, on June 21 this year. This legislation demands that Canadian laws, policies and practices respect the internationally recognized human rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is a key step forward on the path to reconciliation—but it is only a step. Much-needed and urgent work remains to be done to address past and present injustices.

“At Global Affairs Canada [GAC], we are pursuing the goal of advancing reconciliation in Canada in everything we do. In this regard, the department has developed a 2021-to-2025 action plan in close collaboration with members of GAC’s Indigenous Peoples Network, as well as with other self-identified First Nations, Inuit and Métis employees. We are also continuously partnering with Indigenous Peoples, at home and abroad, in support of Indigenous rights and economic development, and to promote the contributions of Indigenous Peoples and cultures around the world. This vision defines our work in diplomacy, trade and investment, security, international assistance and consular affairs.

“Indigenous Peoples—including women, youth, children, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people—are a focus of Canada’s inclusive, human rights-based Feminist International Assistance Policy, as well as key partners in achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. GAC supports many projects that support Indigenous Peoples in the Global South, including in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 2017, the International Aboriginal Youth Internships Initiative has enabled 202 Indigenous young persons to gain professional experience in international development, including through virtual internships since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“While many initiatives over the past year and a half were cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic, we have continued to support Indigenous professionals, and education and reconciliation globally. We have helped showcase Indigenous artists and culture in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Norway, Peru and the United Kingdom. Some 70% to 80% of the world’s Indigenous people live in the Asia-Pacific region, and we understand the need for dialogue with these populations.

“GAC strives to be inclusive when it comes to trade and investment. Whenever possible, Canada seeks dedicated chapters on trade and Indigenous Peoples in its free trade negotiations. As a first for Canada, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement featured a general exception which ensures that nothing in the agreement prevents the government from fulfilling its legal obligations to Indigenous Peoples. Building on this, the same general exception is now a part of Canada’s 2021 Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement Model. In these and other efforts, GAC is guided by advice from, and dialogue with, the department’s Indigenous Working Group on Trade Policy.

“GAC played a role in this country’s colonial past. We acknowledge that we must commit to working as partners with First Nations, Inuit and Métis toward a better future here in Canada, as well as with other Indigenous Peoples worldwide.” 


Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Guillaume Dumas
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Alice Hansen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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