NSNDP Observes National Aboriginal Day

June 21, 2016

For Immediate Release

K’jipuktuk (Halifax) – Today, June 21, the Nova Scotia NDP is marking National Aboriginal Day along with communities and groups across the country.

Lenore Zann, MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, is attending a celebration at the Millbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre. The opening ceremony is at 10:30 a.m. and the closing ceremony is at 3:00 p.m. She will be joined by NSNDP leader Gary Burrill.

“For seven years I have had the honour to represent this area, which includes Millbrook First Nation,” said Zann, who is the NDP’s critic for Aboriginal Affairs and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). “Vibrant communities like Millbrook are contributing in huge ways to our province’s social, cultural and economic fabric.”

Later today, Zann will head to Halifax for the launch of Living Treaties: Narrating Mi’kmaw Treaty Relations, a book edited by Dr. Marie Batiste and published by the Cape Breton University press. The event will take place from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

“It is important to recognize that the Mi’kmaq did not ever sell, rent or cede their lands to European settlers,” said Zann. “They signed peace and friendship treaties, and we need to respect their right to consultation about the use of the land and water.”

In a statement this morning, Burrill cited a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report that shows over half of Indigenous children in Canada living in poverty.[1]

“It is easy to formally recognize Indigenous rights and declare we are in sympathy with the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations,” he said. “The proof of that commitment can only come in hard policy and resources.”

During this spring’s session of the Nova Scotia legislature, Zann asked Premier Stephen McNeil which specific TRC Calls to Action his government was planning to implement. He did not provide an answer. McNeil is the provincial Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs.

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For more information please contact Kyle Buott at the NSNDP Caucus at 902-266-2068

[1] Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2016. Shameful Neglect: Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada. https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/shameful-neglect