June is National Indigenous History Month
Diane Longboat, Heidi Maracle & Cora-Lee Simon are members of CAMH Aboriginal Caucus and they offer some thoughts on the importance of building knowledge about Indigenous histories, cultures and resiliency for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
June is a special time to consider the history, contributions, sacrifices, and strengths of our people across the country, coast to coast to coast; and to share the experience the diverse and rich cultural traditions and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.
The distinct histories of Métis, Inuit and the 634 First Nations have only been taught in some schools in the last generation and many of us have missed the opportunity to understand the original histories of Nations on Turtle Island (North America) prior to the arrival of the newcomers. Nations aligned in Confederacies were rich in democratic governance, trade routes from the Arctic to Cape Horn, architecture, traditional medicines, laws, diplomacy, and environmental protection.
History does not begin in 1867 with the founding of the nation state called Canada. The rights of First Nations and Inuit flow from the land and its sustenance for life, and are enshrined in our oral history of creation along with duties and responsibilities to care for all life and the land. Today the Constitution Act of Canada, 1985 recognizes those rights in Section 35, including the Métis. Together, with Canadians, we share those duties and learn together for the betterment of all.
In the spirit of reconciliation, the CAMH Aboriginal Caucus are sharing this Indigenous Resiliency Fact Sheet with you for some fun facts, and hopefully new information that will inspire all of us.
Now, it is more important than ever to celebrate diversity and work together.