Honouring National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2015

In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood — now the Assembly of First Nations — called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to take place annually on June 21. In 1996, after many calls from First Nations communities and organizations, the federal government of the day officially declared June 21 National Aboriginal Day.

“I want my great grandchildren to be able to fall in love with every piece of our territory. I want their bodies to carry with them, every story, every song, and every piece of poetry hidden in our Anishinaabe language. I want them to be able to dance through their lives with joy. I want them to live without fear because they know respect, because they know in their bones what respect feels like. I want them to live without fear because they have a pristine environment with clean waterways that will provide them with the physical and emotional sustenance to uphold their responsibilities to the land, their families, their communities and their nations. I want them to be valued, heard and cherished by our communities and by Canada no matter their skin colour, their physical and mental abilities, their sexual orientation or their gender orientation.

“I want my great, great grandchildren and their great, great grandchildren to be able to live as Mississauga Nishnaabeg unharassed and undeterred in our homeland.”

Leanne Simpson is a writer and an academic of Mississauga Nishnaabeg ancestry. Excerpt from: I Am Not a Nation – State, leannesimpson.ca/i-am-not-a-nation-state/ November, 2013, Retrieved June 19

Click on any photo to see the slide show. Photos by: Wendy McPeake and Esther Shannon, settlers.