National Aboriginal Day: Setting the stage for a different narrative

“When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages. […] Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence.”

Canada’s first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald, in 1883


This summer, Canadians across the country will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Publicly funded festivities will be held in every province and territory. Indigenous People of Turtle Island, however, will have quite a different perspective of this anniversary.

For most Indigenous People, Canada Day serves as a reminder of 150 years of colonialism, Indian Residential Schools, treaties not honoured, and the Indian Act. On June 21, National Aboriginal Day, let’s set the stage for a different narrative.

As a step in the continuing effort towards reconciliation, PSAC has partnered with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). We have signed on as a major sponsor of National Aboriginal Day Live, where events are planned for eight cities: Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Edmonton and Vancouver. These events will feature some of the biggest names in Indigenous music and television, including JUNO Award winners and on-the-rise artists. Talent from all genres, regions and nations, will be showcased, ensuring the recognition and inclusion of all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Thirsty for Justice

As part of our partnership agreement, APTN will be airing a 30-second version of our Thirsty for Justice campaign video that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of Canadians. This video highlights the appalling issue of unsafe drinking water in First Nations communities.  At any given time, there are more than 120 First Nation communities living under boil water advisories.


One hundred and fifty years is a long time to wait for justice. Each of us has a role to play in correcting the wrongs of the past.

Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Murray Sinclair had this to say when their final report was issued:

"We did not deliver the final report to government. We recognized that government was going to be slow to respond […] but we're not writing it for them, we are writing it for the rest of society, it’s up to society to step up and take the actions that are needed."

We encourage all PSAC members to attend events marking National Aboriginal Day and to learn more about Indigenous history.


June 21, 2017