National Indigenous Peoples Day

June marks Indigenous History Month, and June 21st, 2021, marks National Indigenous Peoples Day. Given the recent news shared about the horrible discoveries in British Columbia and the persistent calls for true reconciliation, United Way Newfoundland and Labrador would like to reaffirm our commitment to supporting and uplifting Indigenous voices and programs across the province. 

As a result of the findings in Kamloops, many Indigenous communities are calling on the federal government to ensure sufficient funding to undertake similar searches on the grounds of other residential schools. There are also renewed calls for all levels of government to work towards true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples by following the recommendations put forward by the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

United Way supports the call from the United Nations Human Rights Office to the Government of Canada to “conduct prompt, exhaustive investigations for residential school victims.” We are focused on our Indigenous Strategy work and are committed to amplifying the stories of survivors.

The discomfort we may feel as part of the settler community truly pales in comparison to the grief that is felt by Indigenous communities across the country. There is true power in knowledge and education, and we cannot have reconciliation with impacted groups without first understanding the past and seeking the truth.

We invite you to join us in our education this month, by reading and reflecting on the following resources:

  1. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
  2. The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  3. Listen to this interview by Chief Dr. Robert Joseph that describes the effects of the discovery in Kamloops and what Canadians should do next on the path to healing.

We also invite you to join in special events for this year’s National Indigenous People’s Day, held by First Light NL. These events can be accessed here and some will require registration.

Finally, if you, or someone you care about, is feeling the effects of inter-generational trauma, there are supports that can help. These include:

National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society offers a crisis line for grief, crisis, and trauma counseling. They can be reached at: 1-800-588-8717