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National Indigenous Day on June 21: writing a new narrative

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This summer, Canadians across the country will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Celebrations will be held in every province and territory. Indigenous People of Turtle Island, however, have quite a different story to tell on this anniversary. For most Indigenous People, Canada Day is a reminder of 150 years of colonialism, Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, broken treaties, and the Indian Act. On June 21, National Indigenous Day, let’s recommit ourselves to writing a different narrative by celebrating Indigenous culture and daily acts of reconciliation.

Every year on National Indigenous Day, OPSEU reaffirms its unwavering solidarity with Indigenous peoples. Union members from every corner in the province are strongly encouraged to celebrate National Indigenous Day by participating in events that highlight the achievements Indigenous peoples have made throughout history. It is also way past time that this day be recognized as a National Statutory Holiday in Ontario and throughout Canada — one of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

On May 9, 2017, a team of Indigenous activists, including OPSEU members, were at Queen’s Park to call on all MPPs to make June 21 a statutory holiday. The event was hosted by the OPSEU Indigenous Circle June 21 Campaign. As you prepare to celebrate National Indigenous Day, you are invited to participate in this important campaign by spreading the word and gathering signatures on a petition to make this happen. You can download our flyer and petition or email to have copies of either mailed to you. Declaring June 21 a statutory holiday is one step toward re-writing the narrative of Canadian history into one that honours the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements and contributions of our country’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

To locate June 21 celebrations in Toronto and Ottawa on June 21:

– from the OPSEU Indigenous Circle.