AUPE’s Human Rights Committee invites all members to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday, Sept. 30.
This new federal statutory holiday was first observed in 2021. Creating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s many recommendations to the federal government, an important part of our collective efforts to atone for Canada’s colonial history.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a time for us all to reflect upon the deliberate, horrific crimes that settlers committed against Indigenous peoples as part of Canada’s founding. It is also a day to recognize and address the ongoing legacy of colonialism, including the institutionalized racism that still exists in Canada.
Many employers in Alberta chose not to honour the holiday when it was first created, despite collective agreements that compelled them to do so. AUPE fought this injustice, forcing many employers to finally recognize the holiday.
“It was a struggle to get our employers to recognize the new holiday,” says Bobby-Joe Borodey, AUPE Vice-President and Chair of the union’s Human Rights Committee. “But AUPE members took action and we shamed many employers into doing the right thing. That is a testament to how seriously we value reconciliation and our members’ rights.”
This year, AUPE’s Human Rights Committee has organized a Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremony at the union’s Edmonton Headquarters. The event is to honour Indigenous voices and will feature an Indigenous art installation, a flag raising ceremony, dancers and drummers, a market of Indigenous vendors, as well as an optional smudging ceremony.
“The Human Rights Committee considers it a privilege to host a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation event,” says Borodey. “Raising awareness and sharing stories with our communities are necessary steps for the work of meaningful reconciliation to continue.”
AUPE members stand with our Indigenous sisters, brothers, and fellow workers. We commit to challenging anti-Indigenous sentiments and creating welcoming, decolonized spaces within our union. Let us observe this day together in the spirit of reconciliation and solidarity.