Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day:
“On National Indigenous Peoples Day, people around British Columbia and across Canada celebrate and honour the diverse cultures, knowledge, economies, governance, history and resilience of Indigenous peoples who have lived on this land since time immemorial.
“We acknowledge the injustices of hundreds of years of colonialism endured by Indigenous peoples that still echo in our systems and institutions. The trauma and abuse of residential schools continue to be felt through generations, and Indigenous peoples continue to face barriers not faced by non-Indigenous peoples.
“The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls brought to the forefront the impacts of colonial violence, disproportionate levels of racialized, sexualized and systemic violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit peoples. To their families, friends and communities, we acknowledge your loved ones are cherished and greatly missed.
“Today and every day, our government recognizes our responsibility to advance reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous peoples, and we have taken significant steps forward.
“Together with Indigenous peoples, we are working to build a more prosperous future, with revenue sharing, delivering affordable housing, supporting language revitalization and having the care of children in Indigenous communities where it belongs. We are working collaboratively with First Nations on land-use planning and environmental stewardship.
“But we know there is more to do. A key step is legislation that will set the foundation for what comes next in our work together on reconciliation. This fall, British Columbia will be the first province to introduce legislation that enshrines the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into provincial law. The declaration articulates the inherent human rights that should be protected for Indigenous peoples, including self-determination, language, culture, education and territory. The legislation will form the foundation for the Province’s work on reconciliation, mandating government to bring provincial laws and policies into harmony with the declaration.
“Every person in B.C., and across Canada, has a role to play in reconciliation. As we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, let’s work together to better understand our shared history, heal the traumas of the past and present, and build a brighter future for generations to come.”