Against drilling in the Arctic, hunting for tullers and defending Inuit traditions: During her career, Mary Simon, the first indigenous woman to be named Governor General of Canada on Tuesday, fought tirelessly to preserve the culture of this nation.
The new representative of Queen Elizabeth II, Officially the Head of State of Canada, Mary Simon welcomed by naming “an important step towards the long road to reconciliation”. The country has been under pressure since the discovery of more than a thousand anonymous tombs near former residential schools for indigenous residents in recent weeks.
It was this 73-year-old, with long gray hair, who in 2008 received the Canadian government’s first official apology for forcing tens of thousands of indigenous people into these residential schools, during a ceremony at the House of Common Good.
“Let’s not be fooled by the impression that tomorrow when the sun comes up, the pain and scars will be erased,” she prayed at the time.
– “Colonial Perceptions” –
Born in 1947 in a small village in Nunavik, this vast region of the far north of Quebec, Mary Simon began as a radio host for the English channel CBC.
Since the 1980s, she has been involved in the defense of the Inuit, starting with the protection of their living environment. As president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), she condemns Arctic pollution and then oil drilling.
In 2006, she became the leader of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatam, the main Inuit organization in Canada.
In order to protect the culture of this people and its practices, he does not hesitate to start international wrestling.
Like when Brussels banned the trade in seal products in Europe in 2010, in the name of animal protection. “Colonial perception of our hunting practices,” she criticizes. The Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, eats a piece of raw seal heart in solidarity.
The same story when Washington tries to classify the polar bear as an endangered species: “It is a direct attack on our rights, our culture, our hunting customs, our agreements on nature protection and conservation. Management, and against the local economies of indigenous Arctic peoples,” he further accuses of the Inuit leader.
Yet in the field of preserving culture, her slanderers risk raising shields: Mary Simon does not speak French well, one of the official languages in the country, which many Quebecers consider “endangered”.
She therefore pledged to attend lessons so she could “represent all Canadians well,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.