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Aboriginal History Month

Aboriginal History Month

Aboriginal History Month

Aboriginal History Month


Published on 13 June 2017
Hansard and Statements by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:

Honourable senators, this month is National Aboriginal History Month and fast approaching is the celebration of Canada 150. As Canada looks ahead in renewing its relationship with the indigenous people of Canada, it is important that we learn from the past. We must acknowledge the past, honour past obligations, such as the treaties, and move forward together, indigenous people and settler Canadians, hand in hand, in respecting and fighting for and supporting each other’s rights; only then will reconciliation and healing begin.

Tonight, please join me and Senator Tannas as co-hosts of the award-winning film Reserve 107, which documents a story of reconciliation in Saskatchewan.

The film Reserve 107 looks at the journey taken by the Young Chippewayan First Nation and the Lutheran and Mennonite settlers in Laird, Saskatchewan, where an old injustice is providing new opportunities for dialogue, friendship and a fierce determination to right the wrongs of the past. After discovering that the land they had settled on was in fact land that Canada improperly took from the Young Chippewayan band, the inhabitants of Laird joined together with the Young Chippewayan First Nation to pressure the government to acknowledge their wrongdoing and honour the outstanding land claims of the Young Chippewayan outlined in Treaty 6. To this day, the people of Laird continue to fight together for justice and will not rest until the Young Chippewayan receive proper restitution for the land taken from them by the federal government.

Honourable senators, with us today in the gallery are some of the people who were involved in the making of Reserve 107.

Gary Laplante is a Young Chippewayan First Nation councillor.

Leonard Doell is a coordinator for the Indigenous Neighbours program of the Mennonite Central Committee in Saskatoon.

Wilmer and Barb Froese are farmers from the Laird district.

Jason Johnson is the pastor of the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Laird.

Brad Leitch is the director of the film.

And Rarihokwats is an Elder, a member of the Bear Clan, Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne. He is a historian and genealogist whose research and work was invaluable in supporting the land claim of the Young Chippewayan.

Honourable senators, the Reserve 107 film will be shown this evening at six o’clock in room 160-S, Centre Block, the Aboriginal room. I invite all of you to join me and our special guests to view the film, to eat some traditional tasty bites and to participate in a panel discussion with our guests.

Thank you. Miigwetch.