Canada Day and Reconciliation
Sisters and Brothers
Today is Canada Day but the lead up to it has been different than in years past. During the month of June, which is recognized as National Indigenous History Month, there were discoveries of over 1,500 unmarked grave sites in and around former residential schools. This has been a grizzly reminder of what transpired in Canada and at these schools during the decades they were open. Over those decades over 150,000 children were taken from their families and sent to these schools to have their culture, customs and language erased.
While there are no easy answers to undoing cultural genocide and intergenerational pain and trauma it causes to this day, Unifor is part of the movement for truth, justice, and reconciliation. Keeping this on the national political agenda is a top priority.
We’re asking Unifor members to translate anger into action:
* Wear orange on Canada Day. Started by residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad in 2013, orange shirts have become a symbol to honour survivors of residential schools.
* Share these 24/7 helplines:
o National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
o Missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Support Line: 1-844-413-6649
o Hope for Wellness Help Line and Chat: 1-855-242-3310
* Unifor supports the 94 recommendations issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They are an urgent call to action for government and organizations to take meaningful action on a many outstanding issues, ranging from protecting language and culture to education to ensuring justice for the victims of residential school violence. Contact your Member of Parliament and demand they be a vocal supporter of the 94 Calls to Action within their caucus and to government. * Unifor’s Education Department has a relationship with San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training. This training fosters a climate that recognizes and respects the unique history of Indigenous peoples to provide appropriate care and services in an equitable and safe way, without discrimination. To find out how your local can participate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
* Donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
* Encourage support for local and regional organizations, programs or initiatives to engage in active reconciliation with Indigenous people.
A DAY TO LISTEN
On June 30th over 500 radio stations broadcasted interviews on what was called A DAY TO LISTEN and would consist of stories being shared by Indigenous leaders, residential school survivors, elders, musicians, and teachers throughout the day. Some of their stories were heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. If you have any interest in listening to some of these interviews or to gain a better understanding or increase your knowledge about what transpired and about reconciliation you can find those interviews here: https://downiewenjack.ca/a-day-to-listen/