FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswickers are being encouraged to be part of activities to celebrate National Aboriginal Day, Saturday, June 21, by Ed Doherty, minister responsible for the aboriginal affairs secretariat.

Following is Doherty's statement in recognition of National Aboriginal Day:

National Aboriginal Day is a day for all citizens to recognize and honour the contributions of First Nations people and to join in the celebration of their culture, values and customs, which are so important to the survival and growth of First Nations communities and to this place we all call home.

This special day stands as a powerful symbol of pride and vitality for the First Nations. Through various activities, National Aboriginal Day introduces many generations to the strong living traditions of First Nations. The enduring experiences of Aboriginal communities are a cherished part of not only our provincial, but national story.

As we guide New Brunswick on a path to self-sufficiency, we realize that a great deal can, and must be accomplished, so that our greatest asset - our people- know, understand and respect each other. By celebrating our diversity, New Brunswick is truly the place to be yourself, belong and be better. I would urge all New Brunswickers to participate in the various events being held around the province to commemorate and mark this important day.

National Aboriginal Day is celebrated each June 21, which corresponds to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. For generations, many Aboriginal groups have celebrated their culture and heritage at this time of year.

The Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat will build a lasting relationship with First Nations through collaborative understanding and respect while celebrating our cultural diversity.