On the 20th Anniversary of National Aboriginal Day we celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Indigenous peoples. We also acknowledge the tremendous contributions of Indigenous people to our union, our communities and the broader movement for social justice.
The occasion of National Aboriginal Day also provides each of us with an opportunity to reflect upon past wrongs and ongoing injustices faced by Indigenous peoples. Such reflection is important because without acknowledgment of history there can be no forward movement on the path of reconciliation.
The world knows that Indigenous peoples are reeling from multiple, overlapping, intergenerational crises that include a lack of access to clean drinking water and adequate housing, high unemployment rates, few educational opportunities, the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system, significant violence, disproportionate involvement with the criminal legal system and high rates of incarceration rates of Indigenous peoples . These realities are symptoms of colonialism and of racist policies which include the horrifying legacy of the residential school system.
In an effort to provide real and immediate assistance in the face of these crises, Unifor is partnering with CN to provide academic opportunities to Indigenous youth. Through Indspire $250, 000 will be allocated for a scholarship and bursary program to assist Indigenous youth pursuing pose secondary studies. The money will be matched by the Federal Government.
Through this and other initiatives, Unifor reaffirms our commitment and support for the processes of healing and reconciliation that are at the heart of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because we understand that equality cannot wait.
Make a statement to demand justice for Indigenous people, post this poster in your workplace or local union office.