A Statement from USW District 6 Director Marty Warren
On October 4 we commemorate the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. In 2021, with the discoveries of over 1,500 children who were taken from their families and buried in residential ‘school’ grave sites and the knowledge that there are very likely many more to be found, it is more important than ever to cast a light on seeking adequate resources to find and take seriously missing persons cases which are overrepresented in Indigenous communities and specifically among Indigenous women, girls, children and LGBTQ2SIA+ peoples.
We must work to seek resolution to every missing and murdered persons case and ensure that there is adequate pressure being placed on institutions to ensure that a thorough respectful investigation occurs. We must commit to clean drinking water, adequate housing and medical resources on reservations and in Indigenous communities. We must work to respect treaty rights and nation to nation relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. We must support survivors of the residential ‘school’ system and their families in seeking the recompense they are entitled to.
We must work to undo harmful stigma for those who face systemic racism and other challenges that are often created by the traumatic legacies of residential ‘schools,’ the Sixties Scoop, the Child Welfare system and settler colonialism.
We must work with our Indigenous comrades in fighting for dignity, equality and economic opportunities for themselves and their families.
We must build up future Indigenous leaders in our union and listen to their stories and ideas. We must embrace learning and often times unlearning the ways we do things, how we collaborate together, how we treat each other and how we care for the environment.
We have an opportunity in this moment to use this momentum and make sure we face the often painful legacies of our country and ensure that we do better now and in the future and commit to standing with our First Nations, Indigenous and Metis friends, family and neighbours.
Here are some helpful resources to guide our efforts:
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Truth and Reconcilliation Commission: 94 Calls to Action
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