The Canadian Association of University Teachers marks National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2015 by acknowledging the tremendous contributions of Aboriginal peoples to our universities and colleges, our academic staff associations, our communities, and our country.
National Aboriginal Day is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the history and culture of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis. It is also an occasion to reflect upon past wrongs and continuing injustices affecting Aboriginal peoples so that we can move forward together on a path of reconciliation. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has documented, there are many pressing issues that need to be addressed: access to clean drinking water, high unemployment rates for Aboriginal youth, the lack of educational opportunities, the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the child welfare system, disproportionate levels of violence experienced by Aboriginal women, and the high incarceration rates of Aboriginal people. These are symptoms of the ongoing effects of colonialism, including the legacy of the residential school system.
On this year’s National Aboriginal Day, CAUT urges governments in Canada to adopt the recommendations of the Commission. CAUT remains committed to being an active partner with Aboriginal peoples and communities to address past wrongs and improve lives.