QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement on National Indigenous History Month:
“On National Indigenous History Month, we honour and reflect on the legacy, heritage and traditions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples across Ontario and Canada.
But this month, we also must face the reality of Canada’s colonial past and present.
The mass grave uncovered last week is a reminder of the brutal horrors and violence perpetrated by settlers on Indigenous children at residential schools. But it’s also a reminder of the discrimination and racism Indigenous peoples continue to face today.
The racism that results in a violation of the most basic human rights, like access to clean water. And the racism Indigenous peoples face in our medical, policing and education systems.
We need actions, not just words. We need a full commitment to combat the systemic racism and colonialism that perpetuates in our society as we work towards Reconciliation.
This National Indigenous History Month, I’m calling for the provincial government to:
- provide funding to support Indigenous led searches for lost children at each residential school site in the province
- legislate a day of mourning and remembrance for those lost and for survivors of residential schools
- institute the curriculum changes that Ford cancelled in 2018 to include more Indigenous content and the history of residential schools
This month, I also want to express my deepest gratitude to the Indigenous peoples who have cared for the land, the water and the plants and animals who live here.
It is vital that we look to Indigenous teachings on important lessons like stewardship, sustainability and community.
Stewardship is at the core of what the Green Party is all about: Caring for the land, the water, the planet, and for each other.
So during Indigenous History Month, let’s honour and give thanks to Indigenous peoples for their invaluable teachings and the traditions. But let’s also commit to addressing the issues of the past and present. The issues of systemic racism, of colonialism, of inequity.
So that we can work towards a future of Reconciliation where Indigenous peoples have the basic rights they deserve.”