National Indigenous Peoples Day statement from the Alberta Federation of Labour

Joint statement from the leaders of Alberta’s largest labour organizations

EDMONTON - National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous History Month offer the opportunity to celebrate the resiliency, beauty and distinct contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. These observances also serve as a call to continue the work to right the wrongs against all Indigenous peoples.

We know that this work must extend beyond a day or a month.

The unions of the Alberta Federation of Labour stand together to reaffirm their commitment to fight for truth and justice for Indigenous communities and continue to stand in solidarity with Indigenous workers and communities across Alberta and Canada.

When we collectively mourned the loss of the 215 children whose remains were recently located at the former Kamloops Residential School in Tk’emlups, we were confronted with the truth of Canada’s genocide of Indigenous people. And as more remains and unmarked graves continue to be found, we echoed the call of Indigenous leaders and advocates in demanding a thorough search for graves at other former residential school sites, including those located in Alberta.

The creation of a new statutory holiday on September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, is a good step forward. It was the 80th call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action report — 94 calls to action in response to the injustices inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, including the forced removal of children from their families to attend residential schools and the abuse the children experienced there. As stated in the calls to action report, the holiday’s purpose is to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

But more work needs to be done, together, we are continuing the call for:

  • Demanding a thorough search for graves at other former residential school sites, including those located in Alberta.
  • Enacting all of the recommendations issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • The removal of the statues and names of the architects of the system from schools and public buildings.
  • An inquiry into the current child welfare system, which continues to separate Indigenous children from their families and their culture.
  • Further recognition and repair of the damage done by the sixties scoop.
  • Increased education for faith leaders about Indigenous injustices and demanding an apology from pastor in Ontario who threw out memorial of shoes.
  • The adoption of the long-awaited United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) adopted by most nations worldwide and the Government of British Columbia.
  • Urgent, systemic changes to protect Indigenous women and girls as recommended in the 231 calls for justice issued two years ago by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and two-spirited (MMIWG2S).
  • Recognizing the unequal funding for reservations to provide safe water, infrastructure and education and demanding adequate resources.

The Alberta Federation of Labour recognizes that we are all Treaty People with Treaty obligations, and are committed to continue living in accordance with the spirit of intent of peace and friendship that is foundational to the treaty relationship. As a labour movement, we will actively work together in solidarity to end oppression and seek justice for all peoples of this land.


Ramona Franson
Director of Communications, AFL
[email protected]

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  • Leah Hall
    published this page in News 2021-06-21 16:10:23 -0600