At Alcatraz Island, Haaland highlights Indigenous progress
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Saturday said progress has been made by Indigenous people during a visit to Alcatraz Island, which became a symbol of the struggles of Native People for self-determination following its takeover in the 1960s, but more remains to be done. Haaland visited the island off of San Francisco's coast on the 52nd anniversary of the occupation by Indigenous students who were demanding that the U.S. government recognize longstanding agreements with tribes and turn over the deed to the island. The group was removed after a 19-month occupation but the takeover became a watershed moment in Native American activism.
Indigenous leader and advocate Mary Simon has been installed as Canada's governor general. © Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP Mary Simon, a longtime advocate for Indigenous rights, was named as Canada's next governor general on Tuesday.
Simon is the first Indigenous person to serve as the official representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Canada and commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is a largely ceremonial role although the Queen must approve the appointment after seeking recommendations from the Canadian government.
"I am inspired by the historic nature of this moment, as our country continues to come to terms with the difficult realities of our collective past," , Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Monday. "I know that, as Canada's first Indigenous Governor General, Her Excellency will devote herself to helping us as we confront these difficult truths together, walk the shared path of reconciliation, and build bridges between all those who call our country home.
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Simon will serve as the country's 30th governor general, replacing former Canadian astronaut Julie Payette who resigned from the position earlier this year after she was accused by current and former employees of creating a "toxic" workplace environment.
As first reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) last year, current and former government employees accused Payette of creating a toxic workplace, harassing and bullying employees and reducing some employees to tears.
The appointment comes at a controversial time in Canada as the country confronts its history of systemic abuse of Indigenous communities, including forced assimilation programs.
Hundreds of human remains have recently been found in unmarked graves on the grounds of several former residential schools, leading to widespread outrage and criticism. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported in 2015 that tens of thousands of indigenous children were neglected and abused in boarding schools they were forced to attend.
Colombia's indigenous activists protect the environment. Now they too are under threat
Fighting against climate change is often a matter of who controls the territory. © CNN In the indigenous reservation of Tacueyó in Colombia's southwestern department of Cauca, that is the role of the indigenous guards, a voluntary, unarmed organization that controls access to the community and administers local justice in place of the regular police.
During her remarks earlier this month, Simon noted that as an Indigenous person, she understands the "pain and suffering" felt across the country.
"And as I said in my remarks, we need to stop to fully recognize and memorialize and come to terms with the atrocities of our collective past that we are learning more about each day," Simon said, adding that it took "courage" for Trudeau to appoint her to the position.
Simon was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, and has served as an advocate for Inuit rights and culture, according to a Canadian government statement.
She was actively involved in negotiations that led to the 1982 patriation of the Canadian Constitution that formally enshrined Aboriginal and treaty rights in the supreme law of Canada.
Simon is also a former Canadian ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, former ambassador to Denmark and past president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a national Inuit organization.
"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.
As Simon takes on the role, she hopes she can be "a bridge between the different lived realities that together make up the tapestry of Canada."
"I can relate to all people no matter where they live, what they hope for or what they need to overcome," she said.
Peng Shuai situation explained: EU calls for 'full' investigation into Chinese tennis star's allegations .
The European Union also requested 'verifiable proof' of Peng's safety in a Tuesday statementThe former French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion claimed retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli forced her into sex three years ago in a since-deleted online post to the Chinese social-media site Weibo. Peng has not been seen in public since, aside from a heavily-scrutinized video Chinese state media released of her at a Beijing restaurant on Saturday and an alleged video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee on Sunday.