September 30TH marks the national holiday recognizing Canada’s commemoration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, an important part of the reconciliation process that has been called for by indigenous people and by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Read about 5 actions Unions can take to help members of Canada’s indigenous communities achieve expanded rights and justice in their workplaces. Please join with us on this day as we acknowledge the grief and losses that have occurred and the tremendous impact on so many.
5 ACTIONS FOR INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN THE WORKPLACE
1.BRING RECONCILIATION TO THE BARGAINING TABLE
Negotiate good collective agreements that include language that advances Indigenous rights and gives recognition to the unique cultural identities of Indigenous workers belonging to various Nations and communities. For example, language that allows:
• Members to have access to Elders and other culturally appropriate supports during meetings or grievances;
• Members to take time off for cultural and spiritual traditions and practices; and
• Provisions that support employment (including promotion), accommodation and inclusion of Indigenous workers.
2. BARGAIN TO OBSERVE SEPTEMBER 30
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (historically commemorated as Orange Shirt Day), a paid day off for workers in federally, and some provincially, regulated sectors.
Bargain for the observance of September 30 provincially too, so all non-Indigenous workers can take the time to reflect on Canada’s history of residential schools, colonization and the lasting effects of these on Indigenous peoples, and take individual and collective responsibility and action towards reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and MÃ©tis peoples.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE THE LAND
Land acknowledgements are an important part of reconciliation and the process of decolonization, as they recognize the harmful acts of land dispossession experienced by Indigenous peoples across this country.
Develop meaningful land acknowledgements for the land you are on that reflect and honour its importance to local Indigenous communities, both historically and today. Visit https://native-land.ca/ to learn about the land you are on.
4. EDUCATE YOURSELF
Educate yourself by learning the true history of Canada and its ongoing colonial relations with Indigenous peoples, this includes:
Reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Report and its 94 Calls to Action; and
Reading the Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and its 231 Calls for Justice.
5. BE A STRONG ALLY
Actively commit and work to break down barriers and to support Indigenous workers in your workplace and your union.
Engage in solidarity with Indigenous workers in your workplace and union, and advocate for the advancement of Indigenous rights and justice.