On National Indigenous Peoples Day, we celebrate and honour the enduring presence and history of Indigenous Peoples on the lands and waters currently known as Ontario. Let us take inspiration from the resilience, strength, and the many contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
Our predecessors sat at the great Council Fires and other gatherings in what were the very first conversations between settlers and First Peoples. Today we have an opportunity and an obligation to return to the principles that guided such interactions: talking, listening, sharing, and dreaming together.
In these times of heightened cynicism and uncertainty, the words of Elder Oren Lyons, professor, author, and Indigenous rights advocate, of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) provide guidance. They are from the exhibition, Speaking of Democracy, currently on display in the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite:
The first principle was peace,
The second was equity and justice,
And the third one was the power of the good minds.
And that’s great power, but it’s a collective power.
It doesn’t work unless it’s together.
– 30 –
Office of the Lieutenant Governor