Stained Glass Window Dedication Ceremony - First Nation Elder Annie Smith-St. George

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Transcript: First Nation Elder Annie Smith-St. George

Greg Rickford: To begin our ceremony, I would like to welcome elder Annie Smith-St. George, a traditional Algonquin elder. Raised on the Kitigan Zibi Reserve, elder Smith-St. George has played an important role in other ceremonies for sure, related to the Indian residential schools, having offered prayers in Parliament on the occasion of the prime minister's apology to former students and their families, as well as the relaunching of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at Rideau Hall and the June 11th unveiling of the design for this window. We're delighted to have elder Smith-St. George here today to lead us in an opening prayer. (In French).

Elder Annie Smith-St. George: Kwekwe, Annie Smith-St. George, (in native language). Welcome elders, special guests, Chiefs, Ministers, leaders, every special guest here in the room, to be here, I'm honoured to be here. Welcome on the territory of the Algonquin Nation, the land of my ancestors. It is – what a special day to be able to have – it's a historic day for us. It's a step towards – it's one more step for recognition of our people. It is my pleasure to be here today a great honour to open on this historical occasion for the survivors and to commemorate those who are gone, to speak about them on their behalf.

As we start an event, an occasion, and especially this event, we always start, it's our way of life to start with a prayer and always thank the Creator (words in native language) for giving us an opportunity to be here together. What a special gift, that who brought you safely to the land of our ancestors, the Anishnabeg Algonquin Nation. I thank the Creator for this beautiful day and the beautiful gift of people giving arts, the possibility of the art form that we have and this will give in memory of the people who are gone and I ask the Creator to help us (words in native language), so that we can move forward in the healing and to be able to move forward and be proud for the generations of our people, the children, the unborn, so that they will have a better life and a better life for years in Canada. (In native language). We're the first people of this country and we want our children to our heads high and not walk in low as we live today. I ask the Creator to guide us with strength and to help us and to give us that physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual strength to continue our walk and to be able to speak on behalf of the unborn. Miigwetch (In native language) Miigwetch.

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