UTFA Statement – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30, 2021
September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, one of 94 calls to action identified in Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. It asked that the federal government collaborate with Aboriginal peoples to establish a day to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” UTFA stands with Indigenous members of the University of Toronto community in recognizing the particular role and responsibility that we in the post-secondary sector have to reflect on and learn Indigenous histories, cultures, and rights, as well as our own roles in the historic process of colonization. We join with the Canadian labour movement in calling for “all levels of government to make concrete commitments and take action on reconciliation by:
- Implementing all of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice, beginning with implementation of the TRC calls to action 71 through 76 on the Missing Children and Burial Information, which include searching all residential school burial sites in Canada and providing sufficient funding to the National Residential School Student Death Register;
- Urging all provincial and territorial governments to recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation;
- Dropping government court battles against residential school survivors;
- Ending discrimination against First Nations children in the delivery of child welfare services on reserves…by reforming the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program in compliance with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling.”
We strongly encourage our members to hear the calls for justice and join in a broad public dialogue aimed at dismantling anti-Indigenous racism at the University of Toronto and beyond. We further acknowledge the need to have sustained conversations with our colleagues, families, students, and other community members about how our faculty associations can support and effect systemic change.