Successive governments have failed to fully acknowledge and address the intergenerational harm and trauma on Indigenous peoples from Canada’s colonial history and its legacy of dislocation, land theft, residential schools, and genocide. Indigenous peoples today continue to face systemic racism in the healthcare, education, and justice systems, as well as discrimination in key areas such as housing and employment. Too many Indigenous communities still do not have reliable access to cleaning drinking water. Violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLBTQIA+ people is so bad that the National Inquiry called it a genocide.
Implementing Indigenous rights need to be at the heart of everything that we do.
Indigenous leaders and advocates have already given us frameworks to work towards meaningful reconciliation. We must implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, all Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and all Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry’s Final Report. We must bridge the housing, education, health, resource and access gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We must ensure Indigenous communities have the adequate resources to give meaningful free, informed and prior consent to resource development projects and decisions that impact Indigenous peoples. There is no time to waste.