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Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council’s thoughts on Canada 150

(TORONTO, June 30, 2017)  “We the OFNYPC write this statement to you with the intention of encouraging dialogue, building hope, and pushing for interpersonal and governmental relationships that are built on reciprocity, respect, and liberation. We hope you will read this as a moment to educate yourself, a moment to reflect on your current ideas about Indigenous peoples in Canada, and a moment to reflect on your present relationships to Indigenous peoples.

In 1763 the British Crown recognized Indigenous peoples and Indigenous lands with the Royal Proclamation and the implementation of treaties across Canada. 104 years later the Canadian state founded itself an independent nation (1867) on stolen Indigenous land. Now Canada is celebrating its 150th year as an independent state while our communities continue to live through and currently face severe poverty, suicide crises, food insecurity, boil water advisories, stolen children, sterilization of Indigenous women, residential schools, the 60s scoop, the Indian Act, violence against indigenous women, girls, and two spirit peoples (MMIWG2S), and many other policies and legislations aimed at harming Indigenous communities. The Indian policies Canada is founded on meet the 1948 United Nations Geneva Convention definition of genocide. Indigenous people in Canada will not celebrate the genocide of their people amidst ongoing colonialism. The aforementioned injustices are the reasons we will not be celebrating Canada’s 150th year of confederation. In a gesture of unity, we ask you to boycott this malicious and unjust event with us.

We ask you to shed the historical amnesia Canada has caused. We want to encourage you to learn whose land you are on, what treaty territory you are a part of, what language do the Indigenous people around you speak, how many of their children are missing, is their nation under a boil water advisory – and if so for how long? We ask you to do your research and your part in reconciliation, with the understanding that reconciliation is not an end goal – it is ongoing, active, and continuous. Reconciliation has to be woven into the very fabric of our society in order for colonialism to end; liberation for indigenous communities has to happen for our children to be safe, our water to be drinkable, and our land to be liveable.

We have lived on Turtle Island since time immemorial and we are already ancestors trying to provide a good life for our future children. Everyone deserves a good life and the celebration of Canada 150 doesn’t prove to us that you believe Indigenous children deserve a good life. We remain hopeful that our settler allies will not celebrate the Canada 150 and instead will commit to working with Indigenous communities.

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The Chiefs of Ontario is an advocacy forum, and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada.

For more information, please contact: Scott Cavan, Dir. Communications

Phone: 416-522-0706 - Email: scott.cavan@coo.org