As we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, our minds and hearts remain taken by the news about children who continue to be found around residential schools. It is a constant reminder of Canada’s violent colonial history with Indigenous peoples that continues today.
These truths are difficult to discuss, even in the halls of power where, to this day, the rights of Indigenous peoples are constantly up for debate; where upholding and respecting human rights is often dependent on the economic and political agenda of the day.
There is no political party that is exempt from violating the rights of Indigenous peoples and, for those of us who are steadfast in our commitment to uphold human rights, we are often ignored, brushed aside and sometimes punished. This is because violating Indigenous peoples rights is normalized in colonial systems in the pursuit of political and economic gain.
However, let us not forget that the job of elected officials is to uphold the Rule of Law. That has nothing to do with policing. It is in fact a legal obligation to lift up our Constitution and the rights enshrined therein, which includes respecting Aboriginal Rights and Title, Treaties, and international laws. Unfortunately, when it comes to Indigenous peoples, governments continue to break their own laws as we currently are witnessing with the Canadian government’s failure to respect the Human Rights Tribunal ruling by pursuing an ongoing battle to deny First Nations children’s basic human rights.
That is why our voice is necessary in the House of Commons. Without our voice in places of power and leadership who will stand for our rights? We need to be steadfast and determined as we strive for justice and not ask permission to take up space in places that are rightfully ours. At this critical juncture we must fight for Mother Earth, our water, and human rights for all. I committed to do my part in this struggle. Our ancestors would expect nothing less.
So let us continue building our movement for change by speaking truth to power in our pursuit for a better world. I believe that is what is desired by Indigenous and many non-Indigenous peoples throughout these lands. Indigenous peoples are strong and in spite of everything that was put in our way to eradicate us, we are still here, in all our resiliency, brilliance, beauty, and strength.
Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day! Let us continue to rise and achieve a beautiful world!