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In a continuing effort to build relations and stand with Indigenous peoples, CUPE sent a delegation to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) 35th Annual General Assembly from July 14 to 17. This year’s assembly in Halifax, Nova Scotia (the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq), drew more than 300 First Nations leaders, youth and elders.

The chiefs in assembly discussed treaty implementation, ways to gain First Nations control of First Nations education, funding for post-secondary education, fracking on First Nation territory, reconciliation and justice for survivors of residential schools, among many other issues.

The assembly delegates passed a resolution renewing their commitment in calling for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The assembly held a special tribute, standing in a “Circle of Hope” in honour of over 1,100 murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls reported in Canada. CUPE fully supports the call for a national public inquiry.

At the assembly trade show, CUPE’s booth was a huge hit. Staff and CUPE members from Nova Scotia’s Indigenous community took the opportunity to meet with First Nations leaders, introduce our union of Indigenous peoples from across Canada, and share our work on important issues such as community-based job skills training for Aboriginal workers and the First Nation drinking water campaign Enough is Enough. Danny Cavanagh, president of CUPE Nova Scotia, also dropped by the booth.

CUPE’s participation at the AFN assembly and other indigenous gatherings is an important way to connect with Indigenous communities and political organizations, forge stronger alliances to speak out on issues, and promote the value of unions in addressing those issues faced by Indigenous peoples. 

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