Commentary: July 1st an opportunity to reflect and take action

The Public Service Alliance of Canada’s northern division has issued an open letter for Canada Day

This is an open letter from the Public Service Alliance of Canada North.

PSAC North empathizes with national calls to cancel Canada Day celebrations and supports those who wish to celebrate in the manner they wish.

Being in solidarity with our Indigenous communities must be translated on the ground to meaningful actions. The discovery of hundreds of unmarked mass graves at residential schools’ sites have left our communities wounded.

Canada Day is not only a day to celebrate our diverse nation, but also to celebrate workers who have kept our communities healthy and safe especially during the pandemic. With heavy hearts we’re approaching this day. Instead of celebratory parades, let’s take the time to reflect and take action. Let’s pledge to stay in solidarity with Indigenous struggles for justice.

“Our communities across Canada mourn and honour the children who didn’t make it home. Will you have fireworks if your neighbours are grieving?” says Lorraine Rousseau, PSAC North REVP.

At PSAC North, we invite you to take action on Canada Day. Here is a list of actions:

  • Wear orange shirts with the message #EveryChildMatters. Post your solidarity photos and tag @PSACNorth on Facebook or @PSAC_North on Twitter. Our communications team will share your solidarity photos and messages.
  • Attend solidarity events in your communities.
  • Educate yourself, your family, friends and your community about the intergenerational trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples. Be compassionate, learn and reflect.
  • Reach out to your Indigenous friends and colleagues to offer your concern and support.
  • Honour residential schools’ victims by helping to stop the ongoing injustices and inequalities Indigenous peoples face every day, including racism and discrimination.
  • Donate to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to support their continued work to identify, remember and honour the children who never returned home from residential schools.

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. Emotional and crisis referral services are available by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.

There are resources and support available for former Residential Schools students and their families in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut by calling the numbers below:

Yukon: 1-867-456-3838.

NWT: 1-800-464-8106

Nunavut: 1-800-265-3333

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