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CAUT Statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day

(Ottawa — June 21, 2018) On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) takes the opportunity to reflect upon the enormous contributions of Aboriginal Peoples, and also the historic wrongs committed against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada.

Many recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission still need to be implemented and we press all levels of governments to act. As the report points out, education policy can play a critical role in supporting the reconciliation process, but to do so we need to invest and be invested in the reconciliation process.

In the last federal budget, the federal government announced small amounts of funding for the post-secondary education (PSE) sector to develop a national framework to address gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions and to support Métis students to attend PSE. As well, additional funding was announced to enable Aboriginal representatives to participate in international discussions on rights to traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, something CAUT has encouraged through its efforts on copyright.

This is a start, but it is not enough. Indigenous rights, including the right to education, are inherent rights enshrined in treaties, the Canadian Constitution, and international agreements. CAUT is committed to restoring, renewing, and regenerating Indigenous practices, languages, and knowledge.

CAUT also urges academic staff associations, universities and colleges to support the Indigenization of the academy by working together to establish equitable policies and practices that involve Aboriginal Peoples and Indigenous knowledge in all aspects of campus life.