Madam Speaker, I would like to start by thanking my colleagues in the House for the dutiful consideration of my bill and for sharing their thoughts on making National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday.
I am very much looking forward to continuing our discussions in the near future as we work together to do what is right for indigenous people across Canada. The discussion we have heard today is part of a centuries-old conversation about how we make time for first nations, Métis and Inuit people in our country. Historically, we know that the federal government's position has been that there is no time for first nations, Métis or Inuit people. For governments in the past, indigenous people were to be civilized, educated or eliminated. History has proven past governments wrong. Indigenous people have become stronger.
Our recent conversations about the time for indigenous people have focused on reconciliation and how we commemorate the leaders who committed genocide. Apologies were made. Canadians have heard the stories of survivors. Canadians have heard apologies from prime ministers. They have heard the lack of apologies from religious leaders, and they have heard the promise of a government saying that it would do right by indigenous people now.
Reconciliation is the government's word. Reconciliation is the government's promise. Reconciliation is the burden of government and the burden of settlers. While the government should be having that conversation about reconciling Canada's past, indigenous people are thinking about their future in Canada. We are asking different questions. We are slowly moving away from asking how we will survive and instead are asking how we will thrive.
What we are seeing now is a renaissance of indigenous culture, indigenous arts and indigenous languages. Indigenous leaders and movements from the past are being taught in history classes. Indigenous people are thriving in business, science, technology, justice and health. I have seen with my own eyes how our cultures and languages are growing in our communities and how our families and youth find strength in our traditions. There is still so much work the government needs to do for indigenous people who are suffering, but first nations, Métis and Inuit people have done so much for a society that has and continues to try to ignore them.
To be clear, my bill does not ask to give indigenous people the time to perform their trauma. I am not asking to give indigenous people the time to accept our apologies while we atone for our actions. I am not asking to appropriate an established indigenous holiday so settlers will have another day off work. I am asking if we, as the Government of Canada, will give up part of our own time so that indigenous people across this country can celebrate what makes them truly unique.
It was in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action that I proposed my bill. I believe people in Canada are capable of mourning the legacy of residential schools while also thinking optimistically about the future. That is, after all, what we do every year on Remembrance Day. It is vital that we remember those we lost in residential schools, that we honour the survivors, and that we never forget how the Canadian government tried so hard to get rid of first nations, Métis and Inuit people. However, the stories indigenous people are telling now are far more optimistic and think so far into the future that they refuse to be defined by the impact of residential schools. Let us not limit the future of first nations, Métis and Inuit people to only a settler narrative of past injustice. Let us put an end to the government's practice of defining indigenous people by the things settlers have done to indigenous people. Let us listen to the generations of indigenous people who stand up every year on June 21 and continue to survive and continue to celebrate who they are and who they will become.
If we are truly committed to reconciliation, it is our duty to think about the time of celebration indigenous people have created for themselves. Indigenous people have told us for decades that June 21, the summer solstice, is their day of celebration. I hope that when members of this House vote on this bill, they will show that they are listening.