OTTAWA – The federal government intends to rename National Aboriginal Day as National Indigenous Peoples Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.
Canadians come together on this day to recognize contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, Trudeau said in a statement, adding that the history, art, traditions and cultures of Indigenous People shaped Canada’s past and continue to shape it today.
In a statement, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said he supports the change, saying the name is consistent with the international recognition of Indigenous Peoples and a resolution from his advocacy organization.
“I believe this small change is part of a larger movement towards recognition and acknowledgment that these lands are the homelands of indigenous nations and cultures,” Bellegarde said.
Later today, Trudeau is expected to speak outside of 100 Wellington St. — the former U.S. embassy located across from Parliament Hill which is expected to become a space dedicated to indigenous people.
Earlier this month, a government source said the federal government would release more details on plans for the building in the coming weeks, adding consultations with indigenous communities will help determine how the space will be used.
The 1930s building was acquired from the U.S. government in 1997 and has been vacant since 1998.
Earlier this month, NDP MP Georgina Jolibois tabled a private member’s bill calling for National Aboriginal Day to become a statutory holiday.