Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

June 20, 2008 13:18 ET

Message From Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the Occasion of National Aboriginal Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 20, 2008) -

Throughout my travels, I have seen the many faces of Canada's Aboriginal people. They are the faces of ancient wisdom, resourcefulness, empowerment, self-confidence and hope in the future. I have witnessed traditions being passed from one generation to the next, and felt the deep-rooted unity the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples share with this land.

In March, I spent International Women's Day with Aboriginal women from across the country. I was moved by their spirit of resistance and resilience, as they spoke of their triumphs and challenges, of their quest for equality, and of what they have achieved in their roles as leaders in their communities.

I have been caught up in the enthusiasm and far-reaching vision of Aboriginal youth. I have seen the way they look forward to the future and how much that look is filled with hope.

I have had the privilege of honouring the very best in Native art, performance and literature.

And on June 11, I was there to hear words of contrition and profound regret echo through Parliament, with a promise to our First peoples: never again.

This National Aboriginal Day, I find myself once again in the company of extraordinary members of the Native community. Young Canadians honoured for their leadership and innovation with the National Aboriginal Role Model awards. Women who are carrying the vital threads of their culture and who are pursuing equality and justice for all.

It is my hope that our dialogue-a national dialogue of great importance-will continue long after this day is done, long after our children's children have grown to see the dawn of a new era. That is my greatest wish.

I encourage all Canadians to look to our Aboriginal peoples as a vast resource of knowledge, beauty and spirit. For it is through them that we find our roots, and with them that we will discover our future.

Michaelle Jean

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