Canada’s Unions Echo Call for Justice for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

June 21, 2020

Canada’s unions are expressing solidarity and support for Indigenous peoples and communities calling for specific reforms recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“We as a movement are raising our voices to express alarm and outrage over recent incidents of police brutality, including the deaths of Chantal Moore and Rodney Levi,” said Larry Rousseau, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “We can no longer ignore the systemic racism in this country.”

In light of these tragedies, Canada’s unions reiterate their support for all calls to action calling for reforms of policing and the criminal justice system found within the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, as well as the final report of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

These incidents also come in the midst of a global health crisis that has, again, exposed inequities faced by Indigenous peoples and communities.

“The CLC supports the calls from the Assembly of First Nations for a dedicated plan in response to the unique realities that have made Indigenous communities vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19,” said Rousseau. “This day is one occasion to celebrate the history and cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across this northern part of Turtle Island, also known as Canada, but they cannot be ignored for the other 364 days.”

The Assembly of First Nations has pointed to the remoteness of many First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, inadequate housing that is often over-crowded, a lack of safe drinking water and more.

“Continued inaction is not an option. We must cement our solidarity as trade unionists in the struggle for justice that Indigenous communities face every day across Canada,” concluded Rousseau.

You can mark National Indigenous People’s Day 2020 with us by reading and reviewing the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as the final report of the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. In both reports, you will find specific calls to action and calls to justice for organizations, individuals and governments. Do what you can in your communities to support these calls to action and pressure all levels of government to take immediate action to implement them.

Check out the links below to find out about virtual events and calls to action being organized by Indigenous organizations across Canada to mark National Indigenous People’s Day 2020:

Assembly of First Nations
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
Metis National Council
Native Women’s Association of Canada
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

For further reading on Indigenous history and racism in Canada:

  • Children of the Broken Treaty : Canada’s Lost Promise of One Girl’s Dream by Charlie Angus
  • #IdleNoMore by Ken Coates
  • Clearing the Plains by James W. Daschuk
  • Peace Pipe Dreams by Darrell Dennis
  • Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal, Edited by Myra Tait and Kiera Ladner
  • Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality by Bob Joseph
  • Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Find more resources here.

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