June - National Indigenous History MonthJune 16, 2020
National Indigenous History Month provides us with an opportunity to collectively celebrate the cultural richness of Canada's Indigenous communities. It is also a time of reflection to review our "living together". In 2020, the state of this relationships remains disappointing, and it is clear that we still have a long way to go on the road toward truth and reconciliation.
In 2018, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a scathing report on the many human rights violations perpetrated against indigenous Canadians including the right to safe drinking water. The report also criticized Canada’s poor record on incarceration.
In 2020, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, issued a news release that stated that Indigenous people make up more than 30% of people in Canadian prisons. HRW also cited poverty a major factor hindering the progress of Indigenous communities. In 2019, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives determined that more than half of Indigenous children live in poverty.
June 2nd marked the five-year anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, which proposed 94 Calls to Action to address the Residential Schools tragedy. Many survivors and their families are still waiting for compensation for the horrific treatment of many First Nations, Inuit and Métis children.
As well, June 3rd marked the one-year anniversary of the final report released to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), which was presented to the federal government. Many cases remain open and unresolved and several Indigenous communities across Canada, faced with a lack of cooperation from police, are calling for national policies and standards on cases related MMIWG.
The tragic death of Chantel Moore’s , along with other violent incidents that have occurred recently between police and members of the Indigenous community add more reasons to review the relationship between law enforcement and First Nations communities.
It is important that we make our voices heard and call out these injustices. We stand in solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and must do our part to ensure their human rights are upheld and protected.
Moreover, if we are to be inclusive and learn from our differences, it is important to better embrace and honour the vast cultural, philosophical and spiritual legacy of the Indigenous communities.
About National Indigenous History Month
June is National Indigenous History Month, when we acknowledge the achievements, successes and unique heritage of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people of Canada.