With National Indigenous People’s Day coming up on the 21st, Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation Wendy Jocko says that while the Day is different this year, it is still a good day to be Indigenous.
The day, which also falls on the summer solstice, will see the annual Ottawa Pow Wow go online this year, with events being programmed and a marketplace being hosted. Chief Jocko says this is an excellent example of adaptation during this time. Jocko also provided welcoming remarks alongside Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Elder Irene Compton and Chief Lisa Robinson. Jocko says that this continues to build the respectful relationship with the city started by former Chief Kirby Whiteduck.
Chief Jocko also says that while it is a good day to celebrate, she adds that Indigenous people and nations should be celebrated every day, and that means more than proclamations and words on social media. The Chief also says that without serious change to how indigenous people are treated in this country, celebrations will always seem “somewhat superficial”. She says that when Black, Indigenous and people of colour are no longer over represented in prisons, or missing or murdered at an alarming rate, then they will truly have something to celebrate. She also says that when indigenous communities have clean drinking water, access to nutritious food and education, the day will always be accompanied with a reminder that Canada and Canadians need to do better.
You can see the Chief Jocko’s address to the City of Ottawa here.