~Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, BCAFN, Assembly of First Nations
What do we know About the Peoples, Histories and Relationships of this Place?
The term “Aboriginal” was created in 2015 just prior to the government of Canada’s change in terminology to “Indigenous” a collective noun to refer to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. If you would like to learn more about terminology click here to download Bob Joseph’s Guide to Terminology – Usage Tips & Definitions.
Earlier this week, Terry Teegee, B.C. Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations was asked: How would you like Canadians to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day in 2020?
I think for all Canadians, they should think about their relationships with Indigenous people. How do they see Indigenous peoples, the original peoples of this place we call Canada?
How do they relate to Indigenous peoples, to relationships with the First Nations. Because every inch of this country has been inhabited or is a First Nations territory. If you’re in Vancouver, you’re in Coast Salish territory. What do you know about the Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-waututh nations — all those others nations and communities in the Greater Vancouver area? The Semiahmoo people? What does the average Canadian know about Prince George, know about the history of the Carrier people here, where I’m from, where I live?
Understanding and knowing where you’re from is half the battle, but also too, understanding our lived experience, we all experience racism. And whether the average Canadian knows it or not —it could be inadvertently — but understanding and accepting that racism is alive and well in Canada will bring us a long way to healing our relationship with not only Indigenous people, but with Black people, minorities.
Know and understand the lived experience of Indigenous people, and go out there and celebrate with Indigenous people.
I think it’s a significant day that many Indigenous peoples hold dear to their heart, and I think we celebrate with everybody.