June 21, 2013 - 11:07 AM
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad issued the following statement to mark National Aboriginal Day:
"Today is a very special day across Canada, created to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions of Aboriginal people - whether they are First Nations, Inuit or Métis.
"It is important to recognize that Aboriginal people are a vital part of B.C.'s economic and cultural past, present and future. It is also an important time in B.C.'s history for us to work together toward reconciliation.
"My job, as B.C.'s new Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, will be to continue to create economic and social opportunities for Aboriginal people, through collaborative government-to-government relationships.
"We will work to secure a minimum of 10 new non-treaty agreements over the next two years. It is also my hope that, as more and more communities see the positive economic and social results of these agreements, more First Nations will be encouraged to pursue this approach.
"In addition to pursuing treaties, my ministry will continue to focus attention on reaching innovative non-treaty agreements that bring benefits more quickly to First Nations communities, while also increasing economic certainty.
"We will maintain our efforts to close the gaps that separate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal British Columbians. We will continue to move forward on the off-reserve Aboriginal action plan.
"We will continue to work with Aboriginal partners, the federal government and local governments to support education and job training, while preserving Aboriginal cultures and traditions.
"I wish all those of Aboriginal ancestry in B.C. a very happy National Aboriginal Day and encourage British Columbians of all backgrounds to take the opportunity to learn more about our Aboriginal neighbours."
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013