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Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
June 19, 2009

National Aboriginal Day a Time to Celebrate Culture and Tradition

Sunday, June 21, is National Aboriginal Day and the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, encourages everyone to take part in events and activities happening throughout Newfoundland and Labrador in recognition of this day.

"This province has a rich and varied Aboriginal population with a heritage that dates back thousands of years," said Minister Pottle. "During National Aboriginal Day, it is important that we recognize and celebrate the contributions Aboriginal people have made to the cultural mosaic of Newfoundland and Labrador."

Community events include:

  • Nain � day-long events hosted by the Nain Inuit Community Government;
  • Happy Valley-Goose Bay � afternoon events at the Kinsmen Park, hosted by the local National Aboriginal Day Committee;
  • Conne River � a day at the Arts and Exploration Centre with many events including traditional craft making, Aboriginal story telling, and traditional drumming and singing, hosted by the Miawpukek First Nation;
  • St. George�s Indian Band � hosting a sunrise ceremony, community breakfast, and children�s activities; and,
  • Port au Port Band � hosting a Mi�kmaq mass with drumming, followed by a community feast.
  • The Williams Government continues to work to improve the wellbeing and circumstances of Aboriginal people. Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation saw the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador build on its unprecedented record of investments in programs, services and infrastructure for the direct and indirect benefit of Aboriginal communities. Investments include the following:

  • $7,040,708 to the Nain Inuit Community Government for a new water supply system, for a total investment of $12,424,779, cost-shared among governments;
  • $2 million for a new pre-trial detention facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay;
  • $206,000 for an Innu Healing Path pilot program;
  • $100,000 for Suicide and Detrimental Lifestyles grants; 
  • $60,000 to the Rigolet Partnership Against Family Violence towards its goal of establishing a shelter in Rigolet;
  • $57,300 to make the position of Inuit court clerk in Happy Valley-Goose Bay permanent;
  • $50,000 to support a provincial working group, that includes Aboriginal women, formed to review the recommendations of the National Aboriginal Women�s Summits, held in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2007 and in Yellowknife in 2008; and,
  • Establishment of a mobile mental health crisis team of three mental health professionals to support Aboriginal communities in Labrador.
  • "On this day of reflection and celebration, I am pleased to point out that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to make progress with Aboriginal groups as each moves forward with its agenda for social and economic development," said Minister Pottle. "Our government is committed to addressing the concerns of Aboriginal people and recognizes that the individual and collective voices of Aboriginal people are essential to determining our way forward as a province and as a people with a unique and diverse cultural heritage. That is truly something to celebrate on this National Aboriginal Day."

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    Media contact:

    John Tompkins
    Director of Communications
    Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs

    2009 06 19                                                      9:55 a.m.

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