Like most leaders, I don't feel political fatigue from preparing and presenting numerous briefs. In 1985, I served on the commission. I also participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Viens commission in Quebec. We worked so hard, and we made every effort possible. As I was saying earlier, if all this isn't considered and if it's just a holiday where public servants have a day off, with all due respect, it's not meaningful.
Sometimes I think about the colonized that I am, and I become a colonizer. This concerns me as the head of a federal entity. The band council system was established by the federal government in 1876, and the federal government took over our land. As we say, colonization is the loss of everything.
We're lucky to still be able to go to our land, but there is a dispute. We can speak our language, practise our culture and bring our children inland, but for how long? That concerns me. There has to be change. When a federal government leader said he would change colonial policies and recognize our titles and rights, I thought, “Finally”! It took years. Then we were told that it would be put off for years.
There will be new elections, and we will have to start all over again. That's what tires me out. Every four or five years, everything we've done is trivialized or forgotten and put in storage in Ottawa. As the commissioner has already said, about 100 of the reports we have been asked for have been stored. Someone in Ottawa has become a millionaire because they've put all the reports we've been asked for into storage.
I don't know what it will take, but at some point it will have to be changed if there is to be true reconciliation. In Ottawa, on this report day, I met a young man, and we had a good contact. He wrote me a nice little note. It was already something.
For whatever reason, governments are doing nothing. There will be legislation, but all I hope is that it won't be used for other purposes.
Thank you very much to those who thought of establishing this day.