On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Council of Canadians reaffirms our commitment to meaningful solidarity with Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island, in their struggles for justice, dignity, and sovereignty.
The establishment of a statutory holiday was one of the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2015, to honour survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities, and to “ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
This year, we have not only seen frustratingly slow progress on achieving those calls, but additionally Indigenous peoples and communities on the frontlines of extreme weather caused by climate change and the impacts of destruction and exploitation from extractive growth.
As a settler organization committed to social, economic, and environmental justice, we have a duty to recognize that Canada is built on the ongoing dispossession of land and resources from Indigenous peoples. That means that no justice is possible without a redistribution of power and resources that gives Indigenous peoples back stewardship over the land, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and respects their right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent.
The Council of Canadians was established more than 35 years ago to protect the commons and build people power in the face of destructive resource extraction, corporate power and influence, and the ravaging of the resources we all depend on.
In the intervening years, we have joined as allies in Indigenous peoples’ struggles to fight unwanted resource extraction projects on their territories and to enforce their rights to the land. We have demanded the full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action, including rejecting the colonial doctrine of discovery and recognizing Indigenous self-determination. And we have called for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the ground.
Today, we recognize the need not only to change the relationship between settler Canada and Indigenous peoples, but the need for Canadians and our government to change our own relationship to the land. We re-commit to a path of self-education, organizational education, and member education about the history and ongoing policies of dispossession and suppression of Indigenous self-determination.
We call on all Canadians and all people who live in Canada to learn about the Calls to Action and commit themselves to informed action in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.