This Thursday, September 30, is the first observance of the new federal statutory holiday to mark a National day for Truth and Reconciliation. CUPE BC supports reconciliation, and we hope that CUPE members in British Columbia will look at September 30 as a day of commemoration to honour the Survivors of Indian Residential Schools, their families and those affected intergenerationally. This is not only a day to mourn and remember the children who never came home, but to find individual ways to learn more, share more and create a path forward toward reconciliation. The establishment of this national statutory holiday is Call to Action #80 of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The recent discovery of thousands of Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools across the country has heightened the awareness of Canada’s racist and genocidal residential school system.
We know that September 30th is going to be a very difficult and challenging day for Indigenous survivors and their families, and we urge anyone who needs assistance to reach out for help by calling the Indian Residential School Survivors Society crisis support line at 1-800-721-0066.
To mark this first observance of Truth and Reconciliation Day, CUPE BC will be making two donations of $5,000 each to the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Orange Shirt Society to assist with the essential work these organizations are doing to support survivors and to shine more light on the incredible damage done to generations of Indigenous people. CUPE BC will also purchase 200 copies of “Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams” by Cindy Blackstock, and will be sending a copy to every CUPE Local in the province. The book is a resource for learning about topics of reconciliation. Reconciliation means something different to everyone, so do your own learning and begin the journey in solidarity with Indigenous people.
CUPE BC is calling on the B.C. government to honour the TRC’s Call to Action #82, which asks each provincial government to work with Indigenous Survivors to commission and install a Residential Schools Monument in each provincial capital.
We strongly encourage all CUPE members—and all British Columbians—to learn more about the destructive legacy of residential “schools” and the ongoing effects that we also ask that people wear an orange shirt to show solidarity with Survivors and their families, and to remember and mourn the children who never returned home. Here are a few resources:
Government of Canada National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Information on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be found here.
To participate in a public event, check these listings for an event near you:
BC Federation of Labour: https://bcfed.ca/events/september-30-national-day-truth-and-reconciliation