June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Non-Indigenous Society Members are encouraged to take time to educate themselves on Indigenous history and culture, and the history of Canada’s relationship with the Indigenous peoples who have lived here for hundreds and thousands of years before the French and British settled here.
With the discovery of the bodies of 215 Indigenous children at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School, and evidence that there are potentially thousands of bodies to be discovered all across the country, this year it feels more urgent than ever to engage with Canada’s colonial legacy and to educate ourselves on the work and findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The Society continues to call on the government of Canada to continue the urgent work of implementing the 94 Calls to Action contained within the TRC reports. We underscored this important message as part of a letter sent by the International Federation of Technical and Professional Engineers (IFPTE), the Society and IFPTE Local 162 in Winnipeg to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 11, 2021.
For any member seeking to better understand the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples, the TRC reports are a vital resource. The reports pay particularly close attention to the residential school system. Download and read the reports at https://nctr.ca/records/reports.
It is equally important to engage not just with many tragedies and injustices that have plagued the relationship between our nations and peoples, but with Indigenous music, art, literature, dance and cultural traditions that animates and brings joy to modern Indigenous life.
To learn more about the land, language and treaties of Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island — the Indigenous name for what is known by settlers as North America — visit https://native-land.ca. Featuring a detailed map of Indigenous nations across the continent, users are provided with nations’ web sites where they exist so they can learn more about a nation’s unique culture and community.