This is a historic occasion, especially in the prairies.
The very first Anishnabbe Premier.
“Anishnabbe” is what we call ourselves, and for those who don’t know it means “the People”. There are many ways to spell it depending on the region you are in because Indigenous languages in Canada are oral languages, so spelling doesn’t really matter too much.
It’s been an interesting time these past few years. Settlers’ eyes have been opening to the humanity of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
With the “discovery” of unmarked graves across the country, and the first national Indigenous holiday the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, being federally recognized only 3 years ago and now Canada’s first First Nations Premier, things really feel like they are beginning to change.
There are many names for First Nations people in this country. First Nations, Aboriginal, Native, Indian. But with the First ever First Nations Premier, I’d like to show him the honourific he deserves. Wab Kinew is Ojibway, also known as Anishnabbe, how we colloquially refer to ourselves is Saulteaux.
Wab Kinew is the first Saulteaux Premier in the country and he, through years of hard work, has honoured our Nation.
Does this mean things will change for the betterment of Indigenous peoples overnight? Probably not. But the landfill will get searched and people’s loved ones won’t be left in the garbage as Premier Stefanson was intending to do. They will be brought home and they will be given the last place of peace they deserve.
He has convinced the majority of the people in the Province of Manitoba that he is the best to lead the Province. A province that was founded on the fur trade. A province that has one of the highest populations of First Nations across the country. A province that has since its inception been run through a colonial lens.
I wish him all the best during his tenure as Premier of Manitoba, and I’m excited for a future where political parties can include more Indigenous peoples in leadership positions. I look forward to celebrating the second – and 8th – Indigenous Premiers, as well.