First proclaimed in 1996, National Aboriginal Day on June 21 is a day of celebration where all nations within Canada recognize the important contributions that First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples have made to Canada.
Aboriginal groups across the country have events planned to celebrate June 21st.
While June 21 is a day of celebration, we must not forget that Aboriginal peoples and their communities across Canada are currently involved in actions aimed at increasing awareness of Canadians to the reality that many Aboriginal peoples live and work in conditions that are below any acceptable standard for a civilized country. Governments have failed to provide for the basic necessities such as safe water, health care and economic sustainability for many communities.
The inability of governments to recognize that these necessities are fundamental rights of citizenship has lead to many frustrations.
In the past year the federal Conservative government has broken many promises made to First Nations people, nationally and internationally. It has abandoned the Kelowna Accord, and withdrawn support for the United Nations Indigenous Persons Charter.
At CUPE we stand firm in our commitment to further Aboriginal rights and to ensure that inequalities and injustices are eliminated. In May of 2006 we created the CUPE National Aboriginal Council. In the past year new CUPE provincial Aboriginal councils were formed in Alberta and Ontario joining existing councils in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Manitoba. We recognize that for Aboriginal rights to be achieved and respected we must work with our newly formed councils to pressure governments to participate in meaningful negotiations with Aboriginal peoples, and to raise awareness to Aboriginal issues within CUPE and our communities.
We are also calling on members and Canadians to be planning ahead for next week’s events. June 29th is the First Nations National Day of Action. Our National Executive Board passed a resolution this week in support of this date, and encourage our members to participate and support the efforts of this day as well. Keep an eye on CUPE.ca for more information, including a list of events across the country.
PAUL MOIST CLAUDE GÉNÉREUX
National President National Secretary-Treasurer