"So, today, we want to encourage our 390,000 members across the country to reflect on these abuses and recommit to fighting continuing acts of oppression. If we are on a path of reconciliation, we need to work with our allies to ensure our Indigenous brothers and sisters enjoy the equality we all strive for."— Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (21 June 2018) — Today marks a significant moment in Canada's calendar. In 1996, Canada's governor general proclaimed June 21 as National Aboriginal Day. The date was created as an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the unique heritage, traditions and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. June 21 was chosen as because it is also the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — a day on which many generations of Indigenous peoples have celebrated their culture and heritage.
June 21: Moment for reflection
In 2017, Prime Minster Trudeau made a name change to this important date, calling it National Indigenous Peoples Day. While the name may have changed, June 21 remains an important time to reflect on the history of Indigenous people in Canada, and to recommit to pressuring our political leaders to take action to lead our country on the path of reconciliation.
"Today, we reflect on the vibrant culture and heritage of our Indigenous brothers and sisters that has shaped our country," said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "But we would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the tremendous struggles that Indigenous peoples have suffered."
Moment for change
"As we witness the demonization of migrant families looking for safe haven in the United States, and see families being torn apart under discriminatory immigration policy, we must recognize our own history and culture of discrimination," said Brown. "We only have to look at the forced relocation of families, the history of residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the lack of attention to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to see that our treatment of Indigenous peoples has been filled with the same injustices."
"So, today, we want to encourage our 390,000 members across the country to reflect on these abuses and recommit to fighting continuing acts of oppression," said Brown. "If we are on a path of reconciliation, we need to work with our allies to ensure our Indigenous brothers and sisters enjoy the equality we all strive for."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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