June 1st, 2022
NDP Statement on National Indigenous History Month
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made the following statement:
“This National Indigenous History Month, we recognize and celebrate the diverse heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Indigenous peoples have called this land home for thousands of years, and Canadians can learn a great deal from these Indigenous histories. This month provides an opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate the diverse heritages of the First people of this land, and acknowledge their significant contributions to Canada.
In order to commemorate Indigenous histories, languages and identities, we must also acknowledge the courage and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who have fought to preserve their cultures in the face of colonialism and genocide.
The injustices and barriers that still exist as a result of that legacy and government inaction must be addressed and removed. But for decades, federal governments haven’t done the work needed to address the systemic racism Indigenous peoples continue to face.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have helped Canadians understand the devastating and ongoing impacts of residential institutions. They have also laid out a path forward to address the inequalities and devastating rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. All of the Calls to Justice and the Calls to Action need to be implemented without delay to save lives and help Indigenous peoples heal.
We know that Indigenous communities have fought tirelessly for clean drinking water, affordable housing, adequate investments in education and health care, and even to recover the bodies of their lost children found at former residential institutions. For too long their voices have been ignored. Indigenous peoples deserve a federal government that works with them to ensure a more equitable future for everyone. They deserve to be heard for their expertise, knowledge and solutions that they know will work for them.
As we celebrate this National Indigenous History Month, it’s important to look back at the past and for the federal government to take responsibility for the harms they have caused Indigenous peoples. Every child in Canada should be taught about the histories of Indigenous peoples so that, we can build a better, fairer future for everyone. Indigenous peoples voices must be celebrated.
New Democrats are committed to working with Indigenous communities and celebrating their enormous contributions. Together we can build a country where Indigenous histories and cultures are not only preserved and honoured, but also given the resources and opportunities needed to thrive for generations to come.”