(Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Territory/Kamloops – June 21st, 2016) Since 1996, National Aboriginal Day has been recognized as the official holiday celebrating the many cultures, achievements, resilience, and strength of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

On this 20th anniversary, BC Assembly of First Nation Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson remarks, “as First Nations peoples, National Aboriginal Day is not only about celebration: It is about remembrance and recognizing all we have accomplished, and acknowledging what we must continue fighting for. The path to reconciliation has never seen a brighter climate than today, and we must be steadfast in continuing our work to create a better life for our people across the Country and beyond our borders. In 20 years, Indigenous Peoples have accomplished great feats in spite of very real and persistent barriers. We are proud and optimistic about what our future holds.”

The BC Assembly of First Nations encourages First Nations and British Columbia citizens to partake in the many celebrations occurring across the province. Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson will be in Victoria, BC, attending the Province’s announcement on repatriation efforts which consists of a strong commitment to work with First Nations and the Royal BC Museum to develop a plan and process to return objects of cultural significance. “On this day, my spirits are lifted to know that we as First Nations will be working with the Province to ensure that we witness our ancestors returning home.  As First Nations peoples, we are continually guided by our ancestors and we shall honour them knowing how immensely important this initiative is on a culture, historical and spiritual level.”