It’s the longest day of the year though some may wish it were shorter. That’s because it’s National Aboriginal Day and segments of the population just wish Canada’s Aboriginal population would just disappear and be assimilated already.

It is a relatively new addition to the Canadian calendar as it was just about 12 years ago that the federal government declared June 21 to be National Aboriginal Day in order to honour and celebrate Canada’s Indians, Inuit and Métis.

Looking back to when the then Governor General Roméo LeBlanc signed the proclamation formally designating the day on June 13, 1996, LeBlanc talked about the important contributions Aboriginals have made in the country.

“Many cities in Canada are less than a 100 years old. But Aboriginal people have lived in this land for more than a 100 centuries,” said LeBlanc at Rideau Hall.

“On June 21, this year and every year, Canada will honour the Native peoples who first brought humanity to this great land,” said Leblanc. “And may the First Peoples of our past always be full and proud partners in our future.”

It only took 14 years to mark June 21 as National Aboriginal Day.

It all started back in 1982 with the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) asking for it.

Eight years after Quebec formally recognized June 21 as a day to celebrate Aboriginal culture in the National Assembly.

For those of you who remember the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) in 1995, part of their recommendations was to have a National Aboriginal Day. That same year, the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people chaired by the infamous Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.

As our population grows (by 2017 there will be an estimated 1.39 million to 1.43 million Aboriginal persons who will represent 4.1 per cent of the Canadian population) by leaps and bounds hopefully the governments will start putting out some serious cash for the celebrations.

There are 615 bands and 53 Inuit communities and about 11 Métis councils or organizations (one per province and territory). In total say there are 679 organizations that could receive funding. Give each of them $20,000 and that would total $13,580,000.

That would be a drop in the bucket compared to the money spent celebrating Canada Day across this land. It would show Aboriginal communities that Canada does more than just give lip service to Aboriginal Peoples across Canada. It would truly empower Aboriginal communities and peoples to be able to really celebrate their Aboriginal heritage on their official day.