June is National Indigenous History Month. As we enter its second week, AUPE members are reflecting on how their solidarity includes working towards reconciliation and justice for all Indigenous people.

“AUPE’s membership of over 95,000 includes people who are First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. These members are our coworkers and part of our province-wide union family. We commit to amplifying their voices, stories, and struggle for equality,” said Karen Weiers, AUPE Vice-President and Chair of the union’s Human Rights Committee.

“This Indigenous History Month, AUPE members call on the provincial government to commit to reconciliation and justice for Indigenous people. This is especially important given the recent release of The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Final Report.”

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its devastating Final Report on June 3, 2019. The report documents the intentional and ongoing human rights violations and abuses, which cause the high rate of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada.

The report promotes a number of Calls to Justice so that our governments and all Canadians can help end this violence. They include:
• Reading the Inquiry’s Final Report to learn the truth of the systematic genocide and violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people today;
• Speaking out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia wherever it occurs, including in our workplaces;
• For all governments to provide supports and resources for educational, training, and employment opportunities for all Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and that these programs must be available within all Indigenous communities;
• Ensuring that health and wellness services for Indigenous Peoples include supports for healing from all forms of unresolved trauma, including intergenerational, multigenerational, and complex trauma, as well as prevention services;
• For all actors in the justice system, to build respectful working relationships with Indigenous Peoples by knowing, understanding, and respecting the people they are serving, including a revision of policies and practices;
• For our elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education institutions to promote awareness to the public about missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and about the issues and root causes of the violence they experience.
• For social workers and those involved in children’s services, recognition of Indigenous self-determination and inherent jurisdiction over child welfare;
• Holding all governments accountable to act on these Calls for Justice, and for them to take action according to the recommendations in the Final Report.

“I encourage all AUPE members to read the report and do their part to stop violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada,” said Weiers. “We can – and must – do better.”

Click the resource links below to download a copy of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Final Report.

The banner image above is of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s bentwood box, constructed for people to store personal items during reconciliation events, symbolizing the struggle for healing and reconciliation.