June 21 2022
“Today is a day that the National Union recommits itself to supporting Indigenous peoples in their struggles for justice. As a union, and a nation, we must do more to address the wrongs that have been done.” — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President
Ottawa (21 June 2022) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) joins the Canadian Labour Congress and all of Canada’s unions in marking Indigenous Peoples Day by standing in support and solidarity with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and calling for greater government accountability, justice and action on reconciliation.
Across Canada, celebrations and ceremonies highlighting community practices, performances, art and customs of Indigenous peoples will help mark Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. National Indigenous Peoples Day falls during Indigenous History Month, which is a time to learn about and reflect on the rich history of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Commitment extends beyond a specific day or month
“Our commitment to Indigenous peoples extends beyond a specific day or month. We honour the diverse cultures, heritage and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada 365 days a year. First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities continue to live with the heavy legacy of residential schools, generational trauma and persistent systemic barriers as a result of Canada’s historic and present-day colonial practices. We must all commit to standing in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and call for swift action towards reconciliation,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
NUPGE President Bert Blundon echoed Bruske’s comments.
“Today is a day that the National Union recommits itself to supporting all Indigenous peoples in the struggle for justice. As a union and a nation we must do more to address the wrongs that have been perpetrated” said Blundon.
History of struggle and resistance
Indigenous peoples and communities continue to face significant hardships due to the impacts of colonization. Their history has been one of struggle and resilience.
The 2022 federal budget fell well short of both the scale of investment needed and pre-budget expectations of Indigenous leaders. Significant investment is required to truly work towards reconciliation and the fulfillment of outstanding promises to Indigenous peoples across the country.
Just one year ago, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc made the devastating discovery of the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Since this discovery, more Indigenous communities in B.C. and across the country have announced similar horrific findings, and more will surely come.
“The discoveries of the graves of thousands of Indigenous children, and the slow degree to which action has been taken to release records on residential schools to survivors and their families, is a sobering reminder of how far Canada has yet to travel on the road to reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples,” said Lily Chang, Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC.
This National Indigenous Peoples Day, all Canadians asked to show their support by sharing in the events of the day wherever they are.
For more information:
To learn more about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and how you can take action to support justice:
Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report, including the 94 Calls to Action.
Read NUPGE’s Justice for Indigenous Peoples policy paper passed at the 2022 Triennial Convention.
Read the findings of the Final Report by National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, including the 231 Calls for Justice.
Read CLC’s recommendations for the federal government on Indigenous rights and justice.