National Aboriginal Day: A time for Canadians to join together with Aboriginal peoples in their fight for respect, dignity and equality | National Union of Public and General Employees

National Aboriginal Day: A time for Canadians to join together with Aboriginal peoples in their fight for respect, dignity and equality

NUPGE renews its demand for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. 

Ottawa (21 June 2014) – The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) encourages all members to join with Aboriginal peoples in Canada in celebrating National Aboriginal Day on June 21. Three main groups compose the Aboriginal population of about 1.4 million across Canada: First Nations (North American Indian), Métis and Inuit — each having distinct heritage, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

Working for respect, dignity and equality for Indigenous peoples in Canada the main thrust of National Aboriginal Day

First proclaimed by Canada’s Governor General in 1996, National Aboriginal Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the unique heritage, traditions and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. June 21 was chosen as National Aboriginal Day because it is also the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — a day on which many generations of Aboriginal peoples have celebrated their culture and heritage.

NUPGE National President, James Clancy, says the day is also a time when we can join together with our Aboriginal sisters and brothers in their ongoing fight for respect, dignity and equality for Indigenous peoples.

“We are facing a crisis when it comes to how Aboriginal peoples in this country are treated. Only last month, James Anaya, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, released a report on the distressing socio-economic conditions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.”

UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples issued report on distressing socio-economic conditions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada 

Anaya's report found that the relationship  between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples has become more strained than it was a decade ago, noting there appears to be a high level of distrust among Aboriginal peoples toward the federal government and the provinces.

Nowhere is this strained relationship more obvious than in the issues surrounding the disturbing phenomenon of missing and murdered aboriginal women. Last month, the RCMP released a report confirming 1,181 documented cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada from over the last 30 years. Despite numerous calls from diverse groups across the country for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women, the Conservative government has steadfastly refused to take any action.

No reconciliation and healing can take place until the Conservative government initiates national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women

“This is nothing short of a national tragedy,” said Clancy. “A public inquiry is needed. This is not just about ensuring accountability and justice for the families of the missing and murdered women. Canada needs to seriously examine the root causes of this tragedy and address the socio-economic issues that make Aboriginal women so vulnerable to violence.”

“There can be no hope of reconciliation and healing with the Aboriginal peoples of our country until the federal government agrees to hold a comprehensive national inquiry into the issue. Before yet another National Aboriginal Day passes us by, let's ensure that, as a nation, we take the necessary steps to prevent this human tragedy from continuing.”

More information:

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in Canada, James Anaya

RCMP Report – Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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