Trigger warning: readers may be triggered by the recount of Indian Residential Schools. To access a 24-hour National Crisis Line, call: 1-866-925-4419. Community Assistance Program (CAP) can be accessed for citizens of the Anishinabek Nation: 1-800-663-1142
Anishinabek Nation Leadership is once again encouraging people across Canada to reflect on the important history of this country on July 1. Canada Day celebrations and events often ignore the impact that colonization has had on First Nations, overlooking the fact that the struggle with the State to become an equal Treaty partner continues today.
“Canada Day is often a somber day for Anishinabek citizens as it is a reminder that the sacrifices of our nation go unacknowledged as we continue to face inequitable conditions in many of our communities. Canada needs to acknowledge that the success of this country is built on the displacement of the original nations of this land. The dark history of attempted assimilation is tangible for our citizens and celebratory events are often ignorant to the memory of our ancestors and to our collective experience,” states Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe.
Injustices due to assimilative policies and practices of Indian Residential Schools and Indian Day Schools continue to create negative impacts for Anishinabek Nation citizens. The Anishinabek Nation has care-taker communities that are doing the careful work of repatriation and there are Day School Survivors struggling through the administrative process of compensation while others are turned down or deemed ineligible. With the fast-approaching deadline for Indian Day School claims, the Anishinabek Nation is advocating for an extension to ensure that everyone who is eligible has a fair opportunity to submit their applications.
“Last year, we saw many peoples and allies across Anishinabek Nation wear orange in support of Indian Residential School Survivors. It was extraordinary to witness so many coming together in unity through marches, ceremonies, and storytelling to convey the important message of the true history of Canada. Honoring our ancestors and Survivors of today is a vital component of long-term healing. I encourage everyone to wear orange on July 1 to pay tribute to this legacy,” states Lake Huron Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Travis Boissoneau.
Many First Nations will once again be holding ceremonies and finding ways to peacefully reflect on the memory of their ancestors and to honor the strength and perseverance of Survivors. Supporting these efforts is important to continued healing and creating real pathways to reconciliation.
“As we reflect on July 1 and nation-to-nation reconciliation, it is important to acknowledge the realities that First Nations in Canada face. Consistent under-funding and lack of infrastructure impedes access to basic human needs like clean drinking water and housing continue to be persistent, unaddressed issues,” adds Grand Council Chief Niganobe. “Beyond July 1 and the new statutory holiday on September 30, we must actionize systemic change and call for truth and reconciliation every day.”
The Anishinabek Nation encourages all occupants of this land to take the time to listen, learn, and reflect on July 1.
The Anishinabek Nation is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 citizens. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.