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Queen’s Park Pow Wow aims to make Indigenous Day a stat holiday

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Indigenous leaders and activists will hold a Pow Wow on the lawn of Queen's Park on Thursday, September 21 from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

That's the day MPP Michael Mantha hopes to table a private member's bill to make National Indigenous Day, June 21, a statutory holiday. The OPSEU Indigenous Circle brought leaders and activists together on August 17 to plan the Pow Wow.

“It is time we do this,” said OPSEU Indigenous Circle member Linda Broer, chair of the June 21 campaign and lead organizer of the event. “Rather than a typical labour rally, we chose a Pow Wow as the best way to introduce the bill and to celebrate Indigenous cultures and traditions which are the heart of this legislation.” The Pow Wow is a follow up to the Lobby Day organized by the campaign on May 9, 2017.

“This will be a holiday for all Ontarians to learn about and celebrate the rich cultures and traditions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities,” added Mantha, who serves as NDP Critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

Chief R. Stacey Laforme, Chief of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, said his community is “happy to partner with OPSEU on this important initiative toward reconciliation.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called on Premier Kathleen Wynne and all MPPs to support Mantha's bill.

"Reconciliation is not a partisan issue," he said, "it's a national necessity. I'd like to see every MPP come out in favour of this bill on the lawn at Queen's Park and then support it again on the floor of the legislature."