National Indigenous History Month
June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, and an invitation for us to educate ourselves on the lives, teachings and culture of the first people of Mi’kma’ki, and Indigenous communities across the country.
A year ago, we were united in grief by the devastating discoveries of unmarked graves on the sites of residential schools across the country. Revelations have continued since that deepen our collective sorrow at the generational pain brought about by the legacies of institutions built upon a foundation of colonialism. The recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission offer us a path forward beginning with education, awareness and knowledge.
To understand our role in reconciliation, what our individual pathways and actions look like, we must engage in meaningful dialogue with, and learn from our Mi’kmaq friends, neighbours, classmates and colleagues. Opportunities to participate in events and programming through June (and the rest of the year) are an entry point into building relationships with people and culture and are foundational to unpacking our colonial history and their legacies of harm. The knowledge we gain, and relationships we strengthen are starting points to meaningful action that will demonstrate our commitment to true reconciliation.
It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their ethnic, national or aboriginal origin as protected by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. As language evolves it is important to recognize these rights extend to all L’nuk and Indigenous persons. Similarly, it is important that the Commission acknowledges that we are in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people and that this territory is covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship.
The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is committed to protecting and advancing the rights of the Mi’kmaq peoples. We will continue this important work by fostering stronger relationships in communities across the province, removing barriers to access for those seeking support to resolve human rights disputes, and creating opportunities to enrich our understanding of issues effecting all L’nuk people.
The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
- Mawita’jik Competition Pow Wow 2022 (on Facebook)
- National Indigenous History Month: Government of Canada
- Nova Scotia's Office of L'nu Affairs
- Mi'kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas
- Mi'kmaq First Nations Map (Nova Scotia)
- Online Mi'gmaq/Mi'kmaq Language Dictionary
- National Indigenous History Month: A Virtual Experience (Halifax Public Libraries)
Legislation Enshrines Mi’kmaw as Nova Scotia’s First Language