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Senators reflect on Aboriginal History Month
June 13, 2017

Why is Aboriginal History Month important to you? How can all Canadians participate in celebrating Aboriginal History Month?

Senator Lillian Eva Dyck


Senator Lillian Eva Dyck

Aboriginal History Month allows us to celebrate the accomplishments of the various Aboriginal

peoples across Canada.  It gives all of us an opportunity to participate in and enjoy local cultural events - to visit with friends and family and strengthen our communities.   In addition, we can reflect upon our past and cast our minds to the future. While colonization has caused severe harms to Aboriginal peoples across Canada, we can acknowledge that shameful history and we can pledge to take action to restore the rightful place of Aboriginal peoples as the original or indigenous people of what is now Canada.

Senator Dennis Patterson

Senator Dennis Patterson

Representing a territory whose population is 85% Inuit, I am very supportive of any initiative that seeks to introduce and educate Canadians on the history and important contribution of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

Inuit, for example, have been living and thriving in the North for millennia.  Their traditional diets are the original 100 mile diets and their use of the entire animal is a lesson in sustainable living.

I believe that all Canadians should take time to learn about the lessons that Indigenous peoples have to offer.


Senator Patrick Brazeau

For me, Aboriginal History Month is about our common future. Let's think about what we can do today to provide young Canadians -- Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike -- with the knowledge and understanding that we all belong here, that we all have something to contribute, that we all deserve respect, and owe respect to one another.

Senator Daniel Christmas

Indigenous nations have a rich and underappreciated story to share.  Aboriginal History Month is a great means of shining a light on the wonderful tapestry of stories from among historical Indigenous Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

Learning about the broader history of Aboriginal peoples, and their stories over the ages long before first contact with Europeans, makes us richer as a nation, deepening our understanding of one another.

Greater knowledge leads to wisdom and is critical component to truth and reconciliation. Achieving understanding of the truth and working towards reconciliation with the past is a means of bettering our future.

There are many ways to celebrate Aboriginal History Month. Visit regional museums and look for exhibits about both historical and contemporary achievements within Canada’s Indigenous communities.

Check provincial tourism websites to learn more about Aboriginal tourism. Above all, visit Indigenous communities.  Enjoy their local entertainment, cuisine and hospitality.  Take part in your local community’s celebration of National Aboriginal Day on June 21st.

Get to know Indigenous culture and the vibrant, diverse nature of the Aboriginal community.  You’ll be glad you did.


Senator Peter Harder

Aboriginal History Month is a time to celebrate the culture, heritage and languages of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It’s also a time to highlight the importance of Indigenous representation in Canada’s political institutions. When James Gladstone was appointed to the Senate as Canada’s first Indigenous Parliamentarian in 1958 by John George Diefenbaker, status Indians did not yet have the right to vote in federal elections. As a single parliamentarian, he was able to give a voice to those who were denied voting rights. Since then, diversity within the Senate continues to grow to ensure all Canadians are heard.


Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas

Aboriginal History Month is a way for all Canadians to value the history of Indigenous people – the people who are the keepers of the land from the beginning of their history. Their purpose on this earth has always been to keep the earth survivable for everyone. At this most dangerous time for the survival of the earth I ask all Canadians from all walks of life to link together and strongly protect the environment for the future of the generations to come.

We must not give in to greed that the big companies with their runaway development of the precious commodities of the earth are bent on destroying without concern for the people who draw their life from the land.


Senator Marilou McPhedran

Because far too often, Indigenous peoples - particularly women - have been written out of history. As recently as in some 'Canada 150' materials, we see ill-perceived notions of Indigenous significance. We need an Aboriginal History Month because we need to increase solidarity among all Canadians. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Indigenous women leaders have demonstrated, facing the truth is crucial to ending violence against Canada's Indigenous women and girls, to addressing the mental health challenges often created by our institutions and to ensuring that Indigenous peoples in Canada can actually live their rights. We cannot decolonize our patriarchal settler systems if we do not educate our country about the history of oppression and marginalization our Indigenous peoples have faced.


Senator Kim Pate

As we come together to celebrate Aboriginal History Month, I am reminded that it is vital for all of us to recognize that in Canada, we are all treaty peoples. The treaties that predate and followed Canada’s existence as a country should not be dusty documents on archive shelves but rather represent part of an ongoing process in need of renewal, a forging of relationships between nations that ought to be approached based on mutual understanding and respect.

Aboriginal History Month reminds us to reflect on the urgent need to advance this relationship, develop trust and move forward together. Together, we celebrate the rich culture of Indigenous peoples, not just in this month, but into the future. Together, we celebrate opportunities to work collaboratively and collectively to achieve justice, fairness and reconciliation and to end our country’s legacy of inequality and colonialism and benefit all of us. We look forward to celebrating all Indigenous peoples throughout Canada!


Senator Charlie Watt

Aboriginal History Month is important to me because Indigenous peoples are underrepresented in this country.  I encourage all Canadians to participate in the celebration of this month by attempting to understand the part that Aboriginal Peoples played in the history of Canada.

Note to readers: The Honourable Charlie Watt retired from the Senate of Canada in March, 2018. Learn more about his work in Parliament