HIGH PRAIRIE, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/21/13 -- The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, celebrated National Aboriginal Day alongside students and staff from Prairie River Junior High School and community members in High Prairie, Alberta, which is represented by Brian Jean, Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray-Athabasca.
"I want to thank the staff and students of Prairie River Junior High for welcoming me into their community to celebrate National Aboriginal Day with them," said Minister Valcourt. "Together we celebrated the history shared by Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals, and the contributions of Aboriginals to our country and to Alberta. Celebrations like this also provide us the opportunity to consider what is possible when we take steps to understand one another's cultures, and work together to build a stronger, more prosperous Canada.
"Youth have a vital role to play in our country's future; they are the leaders of tomorrow and it is through them that valuable traditions and knowledge are passed along to the next generation," Minister Valcourt added.
Minister Valcourt was joined by Ms. Pearl Calahasen, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta.
The Minister spoke to students at Prairie River Junior High about the Government's commitment to listening to First Nations and to taking concrete steps to address their calls for concrete action on priorities like education, job and skills training, improved living conditions on reserve, and greater economic opportunities.
The Minister also took the opportunity to meet with Grand Chief Arthur Noskey, of the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council, and with a group of students to talk about working together to build on the progress that has been made to ensure that Aboriginals have the same opportunities as all Canadians to achieve the self-sufficiency and prosperity they seek.
National Aboriginal Day is an important element of National Aboriginal History Month, which takes place every June. Instituted through a motion passed in the House of Commons in 2009, National Aboriginal History Month offers Canadians even more opportunities to better understand the cultural diversity and unique accomplishments of First Nations, Metis and Inuit.
All Canadians are invited to take part in National Aboriginal Day events happening throughout Canada. When we join together in celebration, we strengthen the relationships that have contributed to the development of this great nation.
This news release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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