Two Aboriginal Cabinet Members Mark Historic First
Aboriginal leaders expressed consternation at the Conservative majority in the new federal government but were heartened to have two aboriginal voices in the cabinet, a historic first.
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq of Nunavut will stay on in her post. The Inuk minister will also oversee the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency as part of her cabinet duties, Postmedia News reported on May 18.
From Newfoundland and Labrador comes Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue, an Innu Nation leader who has served in politics since the 1980s, Postmedia News said.
Métis and Inuit leaders expressed similar sentiments. Métis National Council (MNC) president Clément Chartier "commended Prime Minister Harper on his appointment of two Aboriginal Cabinet members, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Pensahue," according to an MNC media release.
For her part Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the advocacy organization serving the Inuit peoples of Canada, said she was "particularly pleased" to see two aboriginal Canadians appointed.
"I am delighted to see my fellow Inuit leader, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, continue in her role as the Minister of Health, and take on the role of Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency," she said in an ITK statement. "We had an historic meeting on February 4th, 2009 when I spoke to her as a minister of the Crown for the first time in the Inuit language."
ITK's statement called the appointments "another remarkable moment in Canadian political history."
Further, Simon said, "Inuit join with our fellow Aboriginal peoples, and all Canadians, in applauding the appointment of Mr. Peter Penashue, former president of the Innu Nation to be Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada."
The appointments come on the heels of #1 Your birthday becomes an international event. Reason #2 Feeds have become the talk of town Reason #3 Upload Pictures, Videos and create Blogs Next Reason Sign Up Subscribe MOST POPULAR Jude Schimmel, Shoni Schimmel Jude Awakening: Shoni Schimmel’s Sister Will Join Her at Louisville Graduation Cap and Gown Graduation Season Sees Fewer Applications Dana Arviso Potlatch Fund Announces New Executive Director Isaiah Rodriguez Laguna Student Sets Indian Country Scholarship Record Martha Redbone In the Studio with Folky Soul Singer Martha Redbone See All See More Video The Navajo Language Immersion Program in Fort Defiance, Arizona teaches students the Navajo language. Language Immersion Benefits to Native American Communities Heard Museum-Leroy Little Bear Lecture Native Science and Western Science: Possibilities for a Powerful Collaboration Poster for film 'Six Pack and Gas Money' directed by Steven Paul Judd and starring Brian Frejo An American Indian Badass Action Hero? Johnny Depp as William Blake and Gary Farmer as Nobody in a still from the 1995 film 'Dead Man,' directed by Jim Jarmusch Gary Farmer Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the Native American Film + Video Festival Screen shot Milky Way Starry Skies See All See More SCHOLARSHIPS Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Higher Education and Grant Program Shoshone Tribal Scholarship Native American Political Leadership Program Alabama Indian Affairs Commission Scholarship All Nations Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Health Professions Preparatory/Pre-Graduate/Health Le Moyne Native American Scholarship American Legion Auxiliary Silver Eagle Indian Scholarship CU-Boulder American Indian Scholarship Program See All See All NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES University of Washington University of Oklahoma University of Lethbridge California State University – Long Beach Creighton University University of South Dakota Scottsdale Community College San Francisco State University Stanford University California State University – Sacramento See All See All TRIBAL COLLEGES White Earth Tribal and Community College Salish Kootenai College Leech Lake Tribal College Institute of American Indian Arts Cankdeska Cikana Community College Oglala Lakota College College of Menominee Nation - Green Bay Sitting Bull College Red Crow Community College Comanche Nation College See All See All POW WOW ALERTS Veterans of the Menominee Nation - Gathering of Warriors Pow-wow N559 Liberty Road Keshena, Wis. May 20, 2011 to May 23, 2011 Subscribe New Political Landscape Could Benefit Aboriginals | Indian Country Today Media Network" href="http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/05/new-political-landscap..." target="_self">victory by a historic number of Parliamentary aboriginal candidates—seven—in the May 2 election. Besides Aglukkaq and Penashue, the others are Métis entrepreneur and filmmaker Rod Bruinooge; Romeo Saganash, who trounced incumbent Quebecois Bloc MP Yvon Lévesque with 45 percent of the vote to his opponent’s 18 percent (a win made all the sweeter because of Lévesque’s remark during the campaign that Saganash’s aboriginal status made him unelectable, according to the Montreal Gazette); Jonathan Genest-Jourdain of the New Democratic Party (NDP) will represent a district of Quebec, and Rob Clarke, Cree, of Saskatchewan, Métis Shelly Glover of Manitoba and Rod Bruinooge, also Métis and of Manitoba, will join Aglukkaq in the MPs Conservative contingent.