OTTAWA — Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) is commemorating National Indigenous Peoples Day by reiterating it is not only about celebrating First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples and their contributions to the country but it is also about recognizing the colonial history of Canada and the issues that affect Indigenous people.
“My heart is heavy with the discovery of the remains of 215 children in Kamloops, B.C., on the Residential School grounds and my heart breaks for all the families whose children never came home,” said Robert Kucheran, chairman of the CBTU, in a statement. “My in-laws are survivors of residential schools and there are deep scars that will never be properly addressed for them and other survivors – and shame on us for that. But what now? Committing to reconciliation means looking head at the atrocities of the past so we will never again allow this to happen in our country. And it means taking real action to stand up for Canada and all we hope and envision this country should be.”
The CBTU represents 600,000 members in the skilled trades including members from Indigenous communities across Canada.
“Over the years, we have taken steps to identify systemic barriers that exist in our organization and to those interested in starting and completing an apprenticeship,” added Sean Strickland, executive director of the CBTU. “We have opened the door to frank conversations on the need to do more. We’ve developed training and educational materials from our Build Together program, to Indigenous Awareness Training that hundreds of union leaders have taken since its launch.
“We remain steadfast in our work to build a better Canada for our Indigenous brothers and sisters.”
In addition, UA Canada has developed a campaign to learn more about the residential school victims. It is calling on all levels of government to prioritize their commitment to Truth and Reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples and complete a full investigation into all Indian Residential Schools in Canada.
For more information or to send a letter to your local MP or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visit https://215.uacanada.ca