(Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory, ON) – On August 9, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard joined in observing the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year’s theme, “Indigenous youth as agents of change for self-determination,” shines a light on First Nations youth as drivers of meaningful change.
“On International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and achievements of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. This year’s theme underscores the crucial role of First Nations youth as drivers of meaningful change and leaders of tomorrow,” said AFN Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard.
Established by the United Nations in 1994 as part of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, observed every August 9, is dedicated to raising awareness and recognizing the contributions, achievements, and rich cultures, languages, and traditions of Indigenous Peoples worldwide.
“Empowering young First Nations leaders is essential in our ongoing efforts for climate action and First Nations language revitalization. By investing in their education and skill development, we can nurture a new generation of youth dedicated to preserving their heritage and building a sustainable future for their communities, guided by the principles of self-determination. I call on Canada to support these efforts in alignment with its duties and responsibilities outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDA) to enable First Nations youth to exercise full control over their future and make decisions to uphold and empower the next seven generations,” concluded Interim National Chief Bernard.
In celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Winter Dawn Lipscombe, Co-Chair of the AFN National Youth Council, stated, “The theme of “Indigenous youth as agents of change for self-determination,” underscores the importance of self-determination as the foundation of First Nations inherent rights and acknowledges the pivotal role of First Nations youth as the leaders of tomorrow. The AFN Youth Council remains committed to ensuring First Nations self-determination is strengthened and that First Nations youth are recognized and upheld for their work in shaping the next seven generations.”
As we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, AFN urges all Canadians to learn more about the diverse cultures, traditions, and languages of First Nations in Canada and support First Nations youth in their journey to protect our lands and waters, advocate for climate action, and preserve our heritage and cultures for generations to come.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.
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