Why isn’t National Aboriginal Day a Formal Statutory Holiday?

In 1996, the Governor General
of Canada proclaimed June 21st to be a day for Canadians to celebrate
and recognize the contributions and the diverse cultures of the First
Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada. But it’s not a formal stat holiday. Meaning: most Canadians
don’t get this day off to take in any of the amazing
events going on around the country. I say MOST don’t get the day off
because the Northwest Territories is currently the only
province or territory to recognize this day as
a formal stat holiday. Since 2001, NWT has recognized
this as a stat holiday. And currently, the Yukon
is considering it as well. It’s now 20 years later since
Aboriginal Day was created and I think it’s time
for the rest of Canada to recognize this day
as a formal holiday. We’ve begun a new era of
Indigenous-settler relations in Canada and the reconciliation movement
is not going to happen if we don’t make the time to
connect in meaningful ways. The Truth and Reconciliation
Commission released 94 calls to action in their final report. The report actually calls for a National
Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be established as
a statutory holiday, however that was specifically meant to
honour residential school Survivors and to commemorate the legacy
of Residential schools. Should June 21st become the National
Day for Truth and Reconciliation or should they remain
two distinct days? What do you think? The TRC’s Calls to Action specifically
advocate for participation from the corporate sector. Call to Action #92 states that the corporate
sector of Canada should find ways to educate staff on the history
of Indigenous peoples. As a small business owner, I am not going
to wait for the rest of the country to make National Aboriginal
Day a formal stat holiday. This year – and every
year going forward – all Animikii employees
will have June 21st off, to celebrate National Aboriginal
day as a formal stat holiday. I call on all employers
in Canada to do the same. Let’s move faster than the Canadian
government and to acknowledge June 21st, National Aboriginal Day,
as a formal stat holiday. Thank you, Miigwetch. Also, I think “National Indigenous
Day” has a nicer ring to it.

Stephen Childs

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