The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is proud to recognize June 21 as National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to celebrate the diverse traditions, languages, and history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, and renew our continued commitment towards meaningful reconciliation.
Indigenous peoples in our province have been waiting for too long for actions from our provincial and federal governments. They have watched for years as reports and inquiries are met with inaction and are shelved away to collect dust. We must continue to come together to demand action and real reconciliation to address Canada’s centuries of colonialism and genocide that have done so much damage to Indigenous families and communities.
We must continue the work to demand justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and make sure that the recommendations in the inquiry report “Reclaiming Power and Place” are fully implemented. We must also make sure the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation’s report are fully implemented. Too little progress has been made since the report was released. There are still too many systemic inequalities faced by indigenous peoples, and it’s time for all levels of government to take action and stop making excuses.
Canadians must also continue to come to terms with the horrifying legacy of residential schools. It has been nearly a year since the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at Cowessess First Nation, and thousands more have been discovered across the country since. People across the country must continue to recognize that the residential school system was a genocide of a massive scale- a legacy of generations of colonialism, violence, and systemic racism that is an ongoing trauma for families and communities. We must continue to demand justice, and to listen to Indigenous communities about how we can work towards healing the damage that has been done.
Finally, as a labour movement, we must take reconciliation seriously, and commit to implementing the TRC calls to action within our own unions, amplifying the voices of and standing up for Indigenous workers in our movement, and continuing the fight for justice for indigenous peoples.
Saskatchewan's labour movement is stronger as a result of its many Indigenous members, and the perspectives and experiences they bring to their unions. Today, we celebrate Indigenous peoples, and stand in solidarity in the continued fight for justice and reconciliation.