Statement: National Indigenous Peoples Day

There are many significant and celebratory days that are held throughout the year, one such day of significant importance is National Indigenous Peoples Day. National Indigenous Peoples Day is held annually on June 21. On this day, we celebrate Indigenous history, culture, diversity and the incredible contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. It is through the rich and diverse history, cultures, and traditions of Indigenous Peoples that has shaped our past, present and our future.

The day was originally called National Aboriginal Day which was renamed in 2017. And it was created together with Indigenous groups through meaningful conversations and consultations with the Government of Canada. Notably, June 21 is a significant date, the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) which for generations has been a celebratory day for Indigenous Peoples and communities to uplift their culture and heritage.

It is also an opportunity for non-indigenous Canadians to meaningfully reflect on the harmful legacy of colonialism. To this end, every non-Indigenous person has a responsibility to take today, and every day, to learn more about the history of Indigenous Peoples, to self-reflect and dismantle perceived stereotypes and biases that have been propagated in Canadian society, and to rise to the call to actions housed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to repair harms done and move forward toward healing. 

As a labour union, we remain unwavering in our solidarity with Ingenious Peoples in the calls for justice and fairness. We are actively putting Indigenous issues at the forefront of our collective bargaining, developing a variety of national campaigns to raise awareness about issues affecting Indigenous and Northern communities, including but not limited to, the Still Thirsty for Justice campaign for clean water, supporting Indigenous members pursuing a class action lawsuit against the federal government for systemic racism and continued consultation with the Indigenous People’s Circle.

There is much work to be done and it requires all Canadians to join Indigenous Peoples in the spirit of reconciliation, respect, and recognition of rights.

In Solidarity,

Marianne Hladun
Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies
Public Service Alliance of Canada

Janette Husak
Indigenous Peoples Representative
Prairie Region Council

RESOURCES: Decolonization and Indigenous Issues
COURSE: Indigenous Canada (Offered by the University of Alberta)
TOOLKIT: Indigenous Allies
ARTICLE: Imagining a Better Future: An Introduction to Teaching and Learning About Settler Colonialism in Canada