Indigenous leader Mary Simon is the first Indigenous person to serve as Canada’s governor general. The largely ceremonial role acts as the federal Canadian representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Simon, who has been an advocate for Inuit rights, has been appointed following a national scandal over the devastating discovery of mass graves at government-funded boarding schools.
Simon is bilingual in English and Inuktitut and has served as the ambassador to Denmark and as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada’s national Inuit organization. In a speech addressing the public, she spoke in her first language, Inuktitut, and said her “historic” nomination was “an important step forward on the long path toward reconciliation” and toward “building a more inclusive and just Canadian society.”
“We are honored to have Ms. Simon as Canada’s first Indigenous governor general,” Trudeau said. The queen’s Twitter account said she had approved the appointment on the prime minister’s recommendation.