Honouring and protecting the distinct rights of Indigenous peoples

June 21, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

On the occasion of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Charlotte-Anne Malischewski, Interim Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, issues the following statement:

Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Canadian Human Rights Commission joins people across Canada in honouring the unique histories, heritage, distinctness and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across the country.

Today is an opportunity to celebrate the countless achievements and contributions Indigenous peoples have made in every aspect of our society —as our teachers, artists, and leaders.

As we take part in celebrations across Canada, we urge everyone in Canada to reflect on the fact that Canada’s history is a colonial history. We share a collective responsibility to listen and learn about our country’s past. We can no longer ignore the colonial legacy and systemic discrimination that remains so deeply rooted within our society.

Now more than ever, governments must do more to protect the distinct rights of Indigenous peoples — including the right to self-determination. It is vital that any new laws or policies that will improve access to justice, advance reconciliation, and support the distinct rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to self-determination be developed and led by diverse Indigenous peoples, for diverse Indigenous peoples.

As we celebrate and recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada, let us all commit to putting Indigenous human rights, like the right to self-determination, languages, cultures, and traditions, at the forefront as we build a more inclusive Canada for all.

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