With the recent news that the remains of 215 children were found at a former Indigenous school site in Kamloops, British Columbia, much needed attention is being drawn to the dark history of how Indigenous Peoples were treated in Canada. We owe it to those who have suffered to educate ourselves on not only the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada but how we can be better allies and work towards reconciliation.
In June, we celebrate National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to recognize the strength of present-day Indigenous communities. Additionally, we recognize June 21st as National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples.
As part of the labour movement, we support the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in their “Every Child Matters” campaign. “Canada’s unions stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples across this country who are mourning the loss of not only the 215 children found buried at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, but thousands of other children who never came home”.
Please take some time to learn about the rich heritage and culture of the Indigenous People in your community. Educate yourselves, educate your friends and educate your family. You can also learn about the Indigenous lands on which you live and work as well as how to incorporate Land Acknowledgements which you can learn about here. Finally, we ask you sign onto the CLC’s campaign and use the pre-formed template to send a letter to your elected representatives, urging this country to make active change towards reconciliation and fighting for justice for Indigenous Peoples and their communities.