Ken Neumann’s Statement on the Occasion of June 21, National Indigenous Day

Our eyes are focused on Ottawa, as we prepare to celebrate National Indigenous Day on June 21.

We’re watching the Senate and the federal government to see if they will pass Bill C-262 into law, so that Canada can adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Conservative Senators have been trying to derail the bill, knowing that time is short before the next federal election.

And the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report in Ottawa on June 3. We are reading the detailed document, while watching for responses from the Native Women’s Association of Canada and other Indigenous organizations.

It took years of organizing by Indigenous women’s groups and by the families of the missing and murdered to get a national inquiry. These are the people whose opinions matter most, when it comes to deciding if the recommendations in “Reclaiming Power and Place” will protect Indigenous women’s rights to culture, health, security, and justice.

USW will issue a more detailed response to the national inquiry’s final report, once there has been time to read and to listen to the voices of the women and their families. But without a doubt, our union will continue to demand that political leaders make significant, fundamental changes to Canada’s laws, institutions, and culture.

Canada must live up to Article 22.2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and “in conjunction with Indigenous peoples, ensure that Indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.”

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