Canada’s Governor General says 2022 was a “difficult and monumental year” marked by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, “devastating” climate disasters and the “pain and trauma” of children’s unmarked graves at residential school sites.
“It was a year of reconciling the past and the present with the promise of the future,” Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, who serves as the monarch’s representative in Canada, said in a recorded New Year’s message.
Since 2021, more than 1,800 possible unmarked graves of children have been detected across the country.
In her address, Simon remembered Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September after celebrating 70 years on the throne, the longest reign of any British monarch.
Simon, who is Inuk, also spoke about those in northern and remote parts of Canada who live in darkness over the winter and use that time to “tell stories, rejuvenate and to move forward together.”
“We can talk to each other to better understand each other and respect our different views. We can improve the lives of others by being generous, innovative, thoughtful and courteous. We can renew our relationship with Indigenous peoples and with the land,” she said.
Simon, the country’s first Indigenous governor general, encouraged Canadians to do the same and to reach out to their friends and neighbours.
“Tell your own stories, dreams and plans for our future,” Simon said.