Statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21)

Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day and all year, we celebrate and acknowledge Indigenous peoples as the original peoples of this country and hold our hands up for their incredible leadership and resilience, and their contributions to the labour movement.

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples continue to implement their rights, practice their culture, and protect their land in a country that has not yet adequately addressed the destructive legacy and ongoing impacts of colonialism and has not yet lived up to its commitments to reconciliation. As the country slowly reckons with the reality of the theft of land, genocide, and police-led violence against Indigenous peoples, we take this time as a union to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and commit to doing better.

UFCW 1518 would like to acknowledge the shameful legacy of colonialism and its ongoing, intersecting impacts on the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada and elsewhere. We recommit to action to support Indigenous peoples, to acknowledge the past and present impacts of racism, and to seek redress for the injustices that have defined the settler/Indigenous relationship.

UFCW Canada has a national Indigenous subcommittee to strengthen relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in our union and to bring together First Nation, Metis, and Inuit members to share their knowledge, ceremonies, and traditions to the benefit of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members. To take action on the disproportionately high level of racialized police brutality that Indigenous peoples experience, UFCW 1518 has called for the defunding of the police in Canada as an initial step.

While we are proud of the steps that we have taken as a union, we know that these are not enough, and we are committed to supporting reconciliation, upholding Indigenous voices, and strengthening the position of Indigenous members in our union moving forward. We will continue to pressure all levels of government to live up to their commitments to reconciliation and justice for Indigenous peoples, including implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and the National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry Calls for Justice.