'Unemployment is especially serious this year – at the height of a severe economic recession –- and a deep cause of concern among Aboriginal communities.' - James Clancy.
Ottawa (9 June 2009) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is urging all members to join with Aboriginal Peoples and Canadians across the country to celebrate Aboriginal Solidarity Day on June 21. NUPGE has produced a poster to mark the occasion and invites all who are interested to download it and distribute it as widely as possible. To download it please click on this image or the link below.
Aboriginal Solidarity Day is marked every year on the same date to honour the achievements of Aboriginal Peoples in all areas of achievement, including the arts, language, reverence for the land and spirituality.
"We are pleased to work in partnership with Aboriginal workers and Aboriginal communities," says NUPGE president James Clancy.
"NUPGE champions full human rights for all citizens, including the right to organize and bargain collectively. We believe this includes a national network of community-based services that allow us to fully participate in society. We must forever strive to end poverty and homelessness and to eliminate discrimination in all areas of employment."
Clancy says unemployment is especially serious this year – at the height of a severe economic recession – and is a deep cause of concern among Aboriginal communities.
Unemployment rates are consistently higher and wages are consistently lower among Aboriginal Peoples. Among men, Aboriginals earn an average of $15,000 a year less and Aboriginal women approximately $8,000 a year less than non-Aboriginals.
"Unemployment, the fight against systemic racism, the need to improve access to jobs, health care, housing, child care and education – these are all causes NUPGE members share in common with Aboriginal Peoples," Clancy adds.
"We feel a special bond, rooted in history, with Aboriginal workers who are members of our union and we look forward to strengthening and deepening our common ties in the future."
Proclaimed in 1996
June 21 was first proclaimed in 1996 as an annual occasion to recognize the diverse cultures and outstanding contributions to Canada of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Collectively these groups make up the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.
The date was selected for several reasons, including the fact that it coincides with the summer solstice.
In 1982 the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidarity Day to be celebrated on June 21. In 1995, a similar recommendation was made by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. It called for a National First Peoples Day to be designated.
Also in 1995, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, known as The Sacred Assembly, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canada.
The first National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed by the Governor General the following year. It is now part of a series of 'Celebrate Canada' days beginning on June 21 and followed by St-Jean Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27 and Canada Day on July 1.
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