Dear colleagues and friends,
We express our solidarity with Indigenous Peoples who are reliving the trauma of the colonialization of free people in North America and their cultural genocide carried out through the residential schools. Many non-Indigenous people have also experienced a taste of colonization or neo-colonization to varying degrees, which has seriously curtailed social, economic, political, religious and cultural freedoms while their natural resources over centuries were being exploited. That is why the trauma of Indigenous Peoples touches our hearts, and hurts us deeply.
The discovery of an estimated 751 unmarked graves near the former Marieval residential school in Saskatchewan, on the heels of the discovery of the remains of 215 children in a mass grave at a former residential school in British Columbia, is a reminder of Canada’s history that is replete with racism, discrimination, exploitation and subjugation that Indigenous peoples have faced – and continue to face. We cannot build a free, just and prosperous society without an acknowledgement of the past and continuing injustices, taking concrete actions to heal the wounds of Indigenous Peoples and undertaking true, meaningful and lasting reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, according to their own wishes.
We support the calls from Indigenous leaders and the Truth and Reconciliation Report for the federal government to create an online registry of residential school burials, and to work with impacted groups to develop a plan for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance and commemoration of burial sites. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) requested $1.5 million in funding to search for unmarked graves in 2009. This funding must be delivered without further delay, and supplemented if the need arises.
We also support concrete actions to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are fully represented at all levels of the Federal Public Service, so that all Canadians see themselves fully reflected in the Federal Public Service, according to Canada’s current and evolving demographics. This is only possible if the Clerk’s Call to Action is accompanied by robust accountability and transparent monitoring and public reporting of progress.
If you have Indigenous colleagues at your workplace, please let them know where you stand…..shoulder to shoulder with them! Let’s stand up together against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes in our workplaces, schools, society and online. Be a human rights champion, fight racism and hate, and stand up for human rights!!
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, or anyone of your PIPSC Stewards, if you have questions, suggestions or comments to share.
Stay safe, stay well!
President, National Consultation Team