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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.

Go deeper

Oct 11, 2021 - Axios Tampa Bay

Tampa's Columbus Day controversy continues

By now, many people know Christopher Columbus did not discover America, and that he did brutalize Indigenous people into near non-existence. 

  • So why do we still have Columbus Day? And why does Tampa still have a statue and park dedicated to him?

Former D.C. Guard alleges Army Generals lied about Jan. 6 response

Members of the National Guard and Capitol police keep a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators away from the Capitol following the insurrection on Jan. 6. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former D.C. National Guard official has alleged that top Army generals "lied" to Congress in their testimony on the U.S. Capitol riot, Politico first reported Monday.

The big picture: Col. Earl Matthews, who was serving on Jan. 6, alleges in a memo that the official version on the military response is "worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist" and that the Pentagon inspector general's November report on it features "myriad inaccuracies, false or misleading statements, or examples of faulty analysis."

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

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