What does 'I Am Indigenous' mean to you?
To mark National Aboriginal Day, CBC features stories of 18 trailblazers in new interactive
As the country readies to celebrate Canada 150, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are gearing up for a massive party.
But the roots and culture of Canada extend well beyond 150 years. And for the Indigenous community, the historic occasion also offers an opportunity for reflection. It's a time to remember the past — and to use it to look toward a better future.
In the weeks leading up to National Aboriginal Day, CBC asked 18 people from across Canada what being Indigenous means to them.
Like Jay Odjick, the writer and illustrator behind First Nations superhero, Kagagi, who is helping to keep the Algonquin language alive.
And Autumn Peltier, a 12-year-old water protector who, despite her young age, has already spoken directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The "I Am Indigenous" project aims to tell more positive stories of Indigenous people in Canada.
The 18 people profiled are changemakers, trailblazers, leaders and stewards for their communities. They come from all corners of the country: from Vancouver and Saskatoon, to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.
As they address some of the difficult issues affecting their communities — suicide, unsafe drinking water and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls — a common thread emerges: They are deeply proud to be Indigenous.
So before the country blows out its birthday candles, they invite Canadians to hear their stories and learn about the beauty of Indigenous culture.
"I Am Indigenous" doesn't stop with this interactive. Tag your photos and videos with #IAmIndigenous to tell CBC being Indigenous means to you.
Last year, CBC Thunder Bay undertook a similar project for National Aboriginal Day, featuring seven Indigenous voices from Ontario.