Jul 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Inuit leader Mary Simon named Canada's first Indigenous governor general

Inuit leader Mary Simon.

Photo: Oliver Morin/AFP via Getty Images.

Inuit leader Mary Simon will serve as Canada's first Indigenous governor general, after Queen Elizabeth II approved the appointment of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Why it matters: It comes as the country is reckoning with the historic abuses of Indigenous people. The remains of 751 people, mainly Indigenous children, were discovered last month at the site of a former boarding school in Canada.

  • The role of the governor general is to act as the Queen's representative in Canada.

The big picture: Simon is a past president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit organization, and has led a decades-long career advocating for Indigenous rights.

  • Simon also served as the first Canadian ambassador for circumpolar affairs where she helped strengthen the ties between the people of the Arctic regions nationally and internationally.

What they're saying: "Ms. Simon has dedicated her life to advancing social, economic, and human rights issues for Canadian Inuit and Indigenous peoples, and I am confident that she will serve Canadians and promote our shared values with dedication and integrity," Trudeau said in a statement.

  • "I can confidently say that my appointment is a historic and inspirational moment for Canada and an important step forward on the long path towards reconciliation," Simon said, via CBC.
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