Reconciliation a reason to celebrate

Prince Albert Grand Council vice-chief Christopher Jobb speaks during the Canada Day reconciliation ceremony at Kinsmen Park. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

For Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Grand Chief Ron Michel, Canada’s sesquicentennial is a chance to celebrate the future rather than the past.

Michel, who has spent roughly 40 years in politics, said Indigenous people have suffered the loss of their pride and culture during the last 150 years, but fortunately things are starting to change.

Leading up to Canada Day, aboriginal demonstrators were setting up teepees at Parliament Hill to protest the celebration of Canada’s past, but Michel said there’s plenty to celebrate, as long as you look to the future.

“I think all it takes is patience and a little more work,” he said. “We’ve got these young people, these graduates, coming out left and right.”

Like many other aboriginal leaders, Michel doesn’t shy away from criticizing the past 150 years. During the Canada Day reconciliation ceremony at Kinsmen Park, he recalled how First Nations peoples had their language and culture taken away from them, while living on crowded reserves with few economic opportunities.

However, he strongly believes aboriginal people have a role to play in Canada’s future, and that role is worth celebrating.

For the rest of this story, please see the July 4 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.