New Brunswick Tribune

Monday, February 26, 2024

On the lawn of the legislature, N.B. communities commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day

On the lawn of the legislature in New Brunswick, communities commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Key Takeaways:

  • Under the watchful eyes of the New Brunswick legislature, the indigenous community gathered to observe National Indigenous Peoples Day.
  • All formal land acknowledgments have been removed, and government employees are not permitted to openly acknowledge public lands.
  • Perley voiced hope for future administrations, but she said that she did not believe the Higgs government and its relationship could be repaired.

The Indigenous community came to commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day under the gaze of the New Brunswick legislature.

Vendors, drummers, singers, and the general public all participated in celebrating the First People’s culture of New Brunswick while a holy fire burned in the front yard.

Imelda Perley, an elder, declared that today was a celebration of being Indigenous. “For this reason, we wear our moccasins, our regalia, our ribbon skirts, our wampum belts, our four-legged and winged ones, and everything else. For non-Indigenous people to understand what we deal with, not just today but every day, I stated on Twitter today that I want them to walk a mile in our moccasins.

According to her, it’s important to recognize both the successes and the injustices experienced by Indigenous people in New Brunswick and across the nation.

The Higgs government’s connection with First Nations communities has deteriorated over the last few months.

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Government personnel cannot publicly acknowledge public lands, and all formal land acknowledgments have been erased. The terms unceded and unsurrendered are likewise forbidden to be used by employees.

The Higgs administration has refused to conduct the systematic racism investigation requested by the Wolastoqey Nations and its chiefs.

In recent years, police have also shot and killed two Indigenous persons. In 2020, Rodney Levi and Chantel Moore both perished at the hands of police officers. Despite the push for inquiries, only the coroner’s inquests were conducted.

According to Perley, recognizing the Wolastoqey language as the province’s primary tongue, as has been done in neighboring Nova Scotia, would be a significant milestone.

With fewer than 100 Wolastoqey speakers remaining in the community, the City of Fredericton assisted the Wolastoqey Grandmothers in setting up a location for the language immersion school on the city’s northside earlier in the spring.

Although Perley expressed optimism for future governments, she said she did not think the relationship with the Higgs government could be mended.

Ron Tremblay, the grand chief of Wolastoq, concurs with Perley.

On the lawn of the legislature in New Brunswick, communities commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day.
On the lawn of the legislature in New Brunswick, communities commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day. Image from Global News

We’re celebrating here on the unceded territory of the legislature, which is ironic, he said. “We must take action independently, educate the public, educate our allies, and forge closer ties.”

He said that people should “come to talk to us” if they want to learn more about the culture.

Tuesday also served as a day to honor accomplishments, according to St. Mary’s First Nation Chief Allan Polchies.

In an interview on Tuesday, he stated, “We as Indigenous individuals are marking this day to honor our ancestors and to communicate with one another, today, about our wonderful culture, our language, and also to speak about the history, but more importantly to talk about the future.”

He stated the Wolastoqey leaders realize the relationship between the government and Indigenous communities is not robust.

The administration issued a statement on Tuesday honoring the occasion. It also disclosed the launch of a new website that would monitor the provincial government’s progress in carrying out the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Source: Global News

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