Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by taking concrete action toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
We are also encouraging Canadians – particularly those who have most benefitted from colonialism – to take the time to learn about Canada’s colonial past and to take meaningful action towards supporting Indigenous communities in their quest for justice. Visit the CLC’s Indigenous Rights and Justice Resource Centre for tools to help advance our collective work, like tangible actions individuals can take to support Indigenous workers in their workplace, union and community.
“This federal government has made many promises of action on reconciliation. It’s time to follow through on those promises,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “The horrific discoveries of the remains of so many Indigenous children in mass and unmarked burial sites at former residential schools is a shattering consequence of Canada’s colonial actions. However, we must remember that this isn’t something from the distant past – Indigenous communities continue to face violence, oppression and systemic discrimination to this day. It’s up to all of us to acknowledge this and take action against it.”
September 30, historically known as Orange Shirt Day, is a day to remember and honour all the Indigenous children stolen from their families and communities, and sent to residential schools. Here they experienced widespread violence and abuse, the generational trauma of which has had a lasting impact. It is also a day to mourn all the children who never returned home.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system, persistent drinking water advisories and disproportionate rates of incarceration are all the result of continued systemic racism and discrimination against Indigenous communities.
“On this day, we encourage everyone to show solidarity with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples by reflecting on the history of the residential school system and the harms it caused – and continues to cause – to Indigenous people in Canada. We must reflect on what action each of us must take in order to be strong allies in our workplaces, unions and communities,” said Lily Chang, CLC Secretary-Treasurer.
What you can do:
- Send a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to follow through on his government’s promises to take concrete action on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
- Find and join an event or action in your area or online to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, such as the Yellowhead Institute’s “A Calls to Action Conversation on Truth and Reconciliation” on September 29.
- Read about Orange Shirt Day and wear orange to show your support for Indigenous communities impacted by residential schools.