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On June 11, members of the UFCW Canada National Office joined thousands of community members at dozens of locations across the country to send a message by letter, and by walking, in support of an equal future for First Nations children in Canada.
The Our Dreams Matter Too national walk and letter-writing campaign is an initiative of the First Nations Children and Family Caring Society (the Caring Society) — a UFCW Canada community partner. It coincided with the National Day of Reconciliation: the anniversary of the day when Prime Minister Harper, on behalf of Canada, apologized to Canada's Aboriginal peoples for the Residential Schools system. The Residential School system removed Aboriginal children from their families and sent them to schools often far from their communities in an attempt to strip children of their heritage and to force them to assimilate into the dominant culture.
In Toronto, National President Hanley, along with other national office participants signed letters to Prime Minister Harper and other Members of Parliament to support culturally based equity for First Nations children. With letters in hand, they, like other participants across the country, set out on a walk with a mailbox as a destination along the way. "The inequity and injustice for First Nations children is unacceptable," said Brother Hanley, as the group arrived to deliver their letters. "We have to send a strong message to our politicians that First nations Children deserve the same safe schools, proper housing and the same access to Education and cultural education as all other children in our country."
The Our Dreams Matter Too initiative supports three Caring Society campaigns: 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 grow up safely at home.