The Federal government has proclaimed September 30th as a Truth and Reconciliation Statutory Day as one small act of reconciliation and acknowledgment of atrocities inflicted on the Indigenous, Inuit and Metis people of Canada.
While September 30th is frequently referred to as a Statutory Holiday, we ask that you refrain from referring to this day as a “holiday”. Instead, please think of this as a day of mourning in which we are to collectively remember our Indigenous comrades who have fallen, or experienced harm, as a result of the colonization, genocide and forcible removable of their children; many of whom were abused or who died while in residential schools.
The latest discoveries of children’s remains at various residential schools, including the Kamloops Residential School where 214 bodies were found, serve as a stark reminder of the legacy of colonization of Indigenous people in Canada.
Entire Indigenous nations and/or tribes were forcibly removed from their homes and land, and forced to live on assigned reserves where many continue to experience substandard living conditions without access to safe drinking and bathing water. Indigenous children as young as 4 and 5 were taken from their families and placed in residential schools where many endured emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Children died trying to escape these residential prisons or while living in the schools. Often families were not informed of a child’s passing and many children were secretly buried on school grounds.
The legacy and pain of colonization and forced institutionalization of Indigenous children remains. Institutional racism continues to impact our Indigenous comrades today.
On September 30th, please take time to remember the atrocities inflicted upon Indigenous people in Canada, and please support our Indigenous comrades who grieve all that has been lost as a result of these atrocities.
To our Indigenous comrades and members, on behalf of CUPE Local 1936, we extend a sincere apology for all that you and your families have endured. We stand with you as you mourn the impact of colonization, everyday, as well as on September 30th, a Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Should you require additional support, please call:
The Kuu-Us Crisis Line at (250)-723-2323, or
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society at (604)-985-4464
Sheryl Burns, President, CUPE Local 1936
Lee-Ann Lalli, Vice-President/Grievance Officer, CUPE Local 1936
Bernice Way, Secretary-Treasurer and Education Officer, CUPE Local 1936