Canada’s first Indigenous governor general is installed | CNN



Mary Simon, a longtime advocate for Indigenous rights, was named as Canada's next governor general on Tuesday.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP

Mary Simon, a longtime advocate for Indigenous rights, was named as Canada’s subsequent governor normal on Tuesday.


Indigenous chief and advocate Mary Simon has been put in as Canada’s governor normal.

Simon is the primary Indigenous particular person to function the official consultant of Queen Elizabeth II in Canada and commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces. It’s a largely ceremonial function though the Queen should approve the appointment after looking for suggestions from the Canadian authorities.

“I’m impressed by the historic nature of this second, as our nation continues to return to phrases with the tough realities of our collective previous,” , Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned in a press release Monday. “I do know that, as Canada’s first Indigenous Governor Basic, Her Excellency will commit herself to serving to us as we confront these tough truths collectively, stroll the shared path of reconciliation, and construct bridges between all those that name our nation dwelling.

Simon will function the nation’s 30th governor normal, changing former Canadian astronaut Julie Payette who resigned from the place earlier this yr after she was accused by present and former staff of making a “poisonous” office setting.

As first reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) final yr, present and former authorities staff accused Payette of making a poisonous office, harassing and bullying staff and lowering some staff to tears.

The appointment comes at a controversial time in Canada because the nation confronts its historical past of systemic abuse of Indigenous communities, together with pressured assimilation applications.

A whole lot of human stays have lately been present in unmarked graves on the grounds of a number of former residential colleges, resulting in widespread outrage and criticism. Canada’s Reality and Reconciliation Fee reported in 2015 that tens of hundreds of indigenous kids had been uncared for and abused in boarding colleges they had been pressured to attend.


Throughout her remarks earlier this month, Simon famous that as an Indigenous particular person, she understands the “ache and struggling” felt throughout the nation.

“And as I mentioned in my remarks, we have to cease to totally acknowledge and memorialize and are available to phrases with the atrocities of our collective previous that we’re studying extra about every day,” Simon mentioned, including that it took “braveness” for Trudeau to nominate her to the place.

Simon was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, and has served as an advocate for Inuit rights and tradition, based on a Canadian authorities assertion.

She was actively concerned in negotiations that led to the 1982 patriation of the Canadian Structure that formally enshrined Aboriginal and treaty rights within the supreme regulation of Canada.

Simon can also be a former Canadian ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, former ambassador to Denmark and previous president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a nationwide Inuit group.

“Ms. Simon has devoted her life to advancing social, financial, and human rights points for Canadian Inuit and Indigenous peoples, and I’m assured that she’s going to serve Canadians and promote our shared values with dedication and integrity,” Trudeau mentioned in a press release.

As Simon takes on the function, she hopes she could be “a bridge between the totally different lived realities that collectively make up the tapestry of Canada.”

“I can relate to all folks regardless of the place they stay, what they hope for or what they should overcome,” she mentioned.

CNN’s Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.


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