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Toronto – June 11, 2015 – On June 9, UFCW Canada representatives came together to walk and pen their signatures to letters demanding fair and equitable services for the 163,000 First Nations children in Canada.
The event marked the seventh anniversary of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's public apology for the vexatious treatment of Indigenous children in Canada's Residential School System, which removed thousands of Aboriginal children from their homes and subjected them to years of degradation and abuse.
UFCW Canada activists led a peaceful march through the streets of Toronto in support of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) Our Dreams Matter Too campaign. The walk was preceded by a letter-writing campaign calling on the federal government to provide First Nations children with equal opportunities to grow up safely at home, receive a good education, and be able to celebrate their cultures.
"Coming together in unison for this event is a symbol of our solidarity with the First Nations peoples of Canada," says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada.
Prior to participating in the walk, UFCW Canada representatives travelled to Ottawa to plant decorated hearts on the garden of Rideau Hall in honour of the lives lost through the Residential School System and the 80,000 survivors who lived to tell stories of their horrific experiences in a school system designed to "take the Indian out of the child."
UFCW Canada acknowledges the systemic wrongs that have undermined Canada’s First Nations peoples for years. By raising awareness of the inequities that Indigenous children and communities face, we can work to improve the living standards of First Nations citizens and preserve Canada's diverse Aboriginal cultures.
UFCW Canada members, staff, and allies are encouraged to send their own letters to Prime Minister Harper to demand safe housing, education, and equal opportunities for all First Nations children by visiting the UFCW Canada Action Centre here.