Sistema Toronto is committed to ongoing learning (and unlearning) in order to be an anti-oppressive organization. Our office will be closed for the long weekend, however we will using this time for reflection and education instead of celebration. We encourage others to do the same.
The land that is now called Canada was built on the genocide and erasure of Indigenous and First Nation Peoples, and major systemic oppression and persecution still exists today. This is not something that we, as an organization and individuals, feel should be celebrated. We know this is uncomfortable for many, but we ask you to sit with your discomfort. Not for us, but for the 1,000+ (and counting) children found in graves in Residential Schools; for the Residential School survivors and those with family trauma; for the missing and murdered Indigenous women; for the Indigenous communities still living without access to clean water.
So, what can you do? Start by asking yourself some questions:
- Am I aware of Indigenous history?
- What was I taught about Indigenous history and culture?
- Do I know the Indigenous name of the land I am on?
- Am I aware of the issues faced by Indigenous communities today and how I can help?
- What are my thoughts on decolonization and reconciliation? What might have influenced my thoughts?
Then, educate yourself and others.
- Learn about the land you live on and beyond at: www.native-land.ca
- Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture: read books by Indigenous authors, listen to Indigenous music, admire Indigenous art and fashion, and watch documentaries and movies telling their stories.
- If you’re a parent, use child friendly resources to discuss the TRC with your children: https://fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/child_friendly_calls_to_action_web.pdf
- Familiarize yourself with the 94 Calls to Action and advocate for their implementation: http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
- Share what you have learned in any way you can: use social media, talk to your friends and family, contact elected officials and demand action.
- Don’t expect people in the Indigenous community to educate you or provide their stories. They are dealing with years of generational trauma. Do your own work as an ally, and uplift their voices where appropriate.