Activists demand equality for First Nations children on National Day of Reconciliation with Aboriginal communities
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Toronto – June 11, 2013 – UFCW Canada activists joined thousands of community members across the country in walking and sending letters to demand an equal future for First Nations children on June 11th, the National Day of Reconciliation with Aboriginal communities. Dozens of National Office staff and Local Union activists signed letters to Government Boss Stephen Harper and other Members of Parliament demanding support for culturally-based equity for First Nations children, and then walked to a nearby mailbox to send the letters to Ottawa.
The walk and letter-writing initiative were part of the Our Dreams Matter Too campaign, a program launched by UFCW Canada's national partner, the First Nations Children and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS), to provide First Nations children with equal opportunities to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and be proud of their cultures.
The National Day of Reconciliation coincides with the fifth anniversary of Government Boss Stephen Harper's apology to First Nations people for the horrendous atrocities committed in Canada's Residential School system. Under this regressive system, Aboriginal children were removed from their families and sent to schools far away from their communities in an attempt to strip the children of their heritage and force them to assimilate into the dominant culture.
"The inequity and injustice experienced by Canada's First Nations children both today and in the past is simply unacceptable," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "We have to send a strong message to our politicians that First Nations children deserve the exact same access to high quality schools, housing, and education as all other children in Canada."
The Our Dreams Matter Too initiative supports three FNCFCS campaigns, including Shannen's Dream (www.shannensdream.ca) for "safe and comfy schools" and quality education; Jordan's Principle (www.jordansprinciple.ca) to ensure equitable access to all government services; and the "I Am a Witness" campaign (www.fnwitness.ca) to help First Nations children live safely at home.