June 21 is National Aboriginal Day and in recognition, there are a number of celebrations and events happening throughout the province. At SEIU-West, we are on Day 1 of our biennial convention and we are honoured to have Elder Ruth Cameron bring greetings to us on National Aboriginal Day. Those in attendance at our convention will also have the opportunity to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action.
There are 94 calls to action in the TRC report, which also contains 10 principles. In order to better understand the calls to action, we would like to share these 10 principles and provide resources for you to learn more.
- The first principle of reconciliation confirms the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society.
- First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, as the original peoples of this country and as self-determining peoples, have Treaty, constitutional, and human rights that must be recognized and respected.
- Reconciliation is a process of healing relationships that requires public truth sharing, apology, and commemoration that acknowledge and redress past harms.
- Reconciliation requires constructive action on addressing the ongoing legacies of colonialism that have had destructive impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ education, cultures and languages, health, child welfare, administration of justice, and economic opportunities and prosperity.
- Reconciliation must create a more equitable and inclusive society by closing the gaps in social, health, and economic outcomes that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
- All Canadians, as Treaty peoples, share responsibility for establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships.
- The perspectives and understandings of Aboriginal Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation.
- Supporting Aboriginal peoples’ cultural revitalization and integrating Indigenous knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, protocols, and connections to the land into the reconciliation process are essential.
- Reconciliation requires political will, joint leadership, trust building, accountability, and transparency, as well as a substantial investment of resources.
- Reconciliation requires sustained public education and dialogue, including youth engagement, about the history and legacy of residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal rights, as well as the historical and contemporary contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canadian society.
Together, we must do more than just talk about reconciliation – we must learn how to live out reconciliation each and every day. These principles must guide us in our actions, and we urge you to read and then act upon the 94 Calls to Action here.