Indigenous Circle
Indigenous Circle
Press Release

National Indigenous Day: ‘We must make reconciliation a priority,’ activists say

Publication Date

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 8:45am

Toronto – A team of Indigenous activists, including Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members, are at Queen’s Park today to call on all MPPs to make June 21, National Indigenous Day, a statutory holiday.

"We must make reconciliation a high-level priority, and come together to continue moving forward in the healing,” said Linda Broer, vice-chair of the OPSEU Indigenous Circle and chair of the June 21 Campaign Committee. “Making National Indigenous Day a statutory holiday would be a lasting symbol of Canada’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation.

“I want this day to be an opportunity for non-Indigenous people to learn about our culture, our ceremonies, and our beliefs, and to celebrate these with us.” 

Members of the OPSEU Indigenous Circle pose with President Thomas and other guests who attended the breakfast at Queen's Park.

“As we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Canadians have an important opportunity to recognize the role of Indigenous peoples in our history, and move toward true reconciliation,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Reconciliation is not a partisan issue, and supporting National Indigenous Day as a statutory holiday shouldn’t be a partisan issue either. This is an opportunity for all MPPs to demonstrate their commitment to reconciliation through concrete action.

“All Canadians have the responsibility to honour the history of Indigenous people on this land and the richness they bring to Canadian culture. But we must also recognize the continued oppression of Indigenous peoples and take concrete action to undo past wrongs. This year being such a milestone is the perfect time to start a new tradition.”

Making National Indigenous Day a statutory holiday was one of the 94 recommendations included in the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

For more information: Linda Broer, 519-639-4360; Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931