Respecting the contributions that Indigenous Peoples have made and continue to make to culture, science, the economy and the environment means finding appropriate ways to incorporate our knowledge systems into the urgent global response to the climate crisis. Respecting our inherent, unsurrendered right to self-determination means ensuring a place for Indigenous Peoples in every forum where vital decisions are being made about our common future. Honouring our unique cultures and traditions means putting a priority on protecting and preserving our lands and waters — under our control.
His Majesty King Charles III has shown that he is prepared to listen to and learn from Indigenous Peoples. His Sustainable Markets Initiative brings together government, industry and technical experts to promote common solutions to the interconnected crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and global poverty. To his credit, His Majesty has made Indigenous knowledge systems and Indigenous rights a keystone of his leadership in this dialogue. I recognize him for that.
His Majesty carries a great many titles and honours. For me, the one that stands out is the traditional Cree name that the late Gordon Oakes, an Elder, Chief and Sun Dance leader bestowed upon the future King of Canada and head of the Commonwealth in 2001 when he was the Prince of Wales. The name is Kīsikāwipīsimwa miyo ōhcikanawāpamik, The Sun Watches Over Him in a Good Way.
The name echoes the language of the numbered treaties. The name also invokes one of our most important teachings. In the Cree worldview, Grandfather Sun watches over all of us, the two-legged ones, the four-legged ones, and the ones that crawl and the ones that fly. We are all related, and we all depend on each other.
The name is fitting. It is a good name for the man who is our treaty partner. And it is a good name for this global leader who, through his words and actions, has embraced an Indigenous worldview of our relationship and responsibilities to each other and the world around us.
Like many other First Nations leaders and citizens, I have high expectations for the new king. I lift him up.