On June 21, Canadians celebrate National Aboriginal Day

OTTAWA - National Aboriginal Day can serve
to remind us that Canada has a long way to go in addressing the profound
inequality of life on First Nations Reserves and life for off-reserve urban
Aboriginal people across Canada says the Green Party of Canada. Water that is
too hazardous to drink; serious health problems from diabetes to tuberculosis,
addiction, and suicide; unacceptably poor housing stock; high unemployment rates
− all make a mockery of our progress elsewhere in maintaining our “social safety

The issues impacting Aboriginal people in Canada are complex
and cannot be assessed without a full sense of the searing violence of
generations of occupation and assault upon their traditional cultures and
values. No Canadian should be satisfied with the failed policies of the Indian
Act, the huge bureaucracy of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (now named
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada), and the enormous outlays of
funding for lawyers and “experts” in the interminable comprehensive claims

The Green Party of Canada supports Assembly of First Nations
(AFN) Chief Shawn Atleo’s efforts to abolish the Indian Act and work to build a
new relationship between Canada and the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. 

Former Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s call to action is
echoed by the Green Party.  The Canadian government has repeated failed to
uphold First Nations' rights and deal with the appalling conditions on First
Nation reserves. 

Something fundamental needs to shift. That shift must begin
with dignity for all Aboriginal peoples: respect, an end to policies of
assimilation, and strong support for health and education on and off reserve.

Our shift in attitude will mean true nation-to-nation
dialogue and negotiations. It will mean a just accommodation of Aboriginal
peoples’ aspirations and an equitable sharing of Canada’s natural resources. It
will mean full recognition of the cultural, political and economic contributions
of First Nations, Inuit, Innu and Métis people to Canada and an end to the
prejudice.  Then we can truly celebrate a National Aboriginal Day.


Kieran Green
Director of