June 21 is National Aboriginal Day

In 1982 the National Indian Brotherhood, now the National Assembly of First Nations, called for the creation of June 21 as “National Aboriginal Solidarity Day” to celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal people in Canadian culture. In 1996 the Canadian government declared June 21 as National Aboriginal Day.

This year, the Assembly of First Nations signed an historic political accord with the Canadian government; an accord that recognizes the need for reconciliation and healing for the thousands of first nations peoples who went through the residential school system.

Starting in the late 1800’s, over one hundred thousand Inuit, Metis, and First Nations children were taken from their homes and communities and sent to live at residential schools run by the government and some religious orders. The aim was for Canada to end its “Indian problem” by assimilation; to remove First Nations culture from the Canadian identity. As a result, many generations of First Nations peoples lost knowledge of their culture and their language. Many were subjected to emotional, physical and sexual abuse. By the mid-1970’s most residential schools ceased to operate, however the last government run residential school in Canada closed as recently as 1996.

The Hospital Employees’ Union continues to advocate for the fair and equal treatment of all aboriginal peoples in Canada. June 21 provides an important opportunity to continue to abolish the discrimination that exists on the basis of race and culture. These opportunities represent to all HEU activists a chance to show our public support for each other. HEU local’s participation is welcomed and appreciated at Aboriginal Solidarity Day events.

This link provides a list of events planned for B.C.