Affirmation of National Indigenous Peoples Day and Call to Action

(Victoria – June 21)

While June 21st is usually a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Indigenous nations and communities, the current and ongoing violence and police brutality against Indigenous peoples requires a call to action. In the School of Child & Youth Care we have made a commitment to a decolonizing praxis. This action acknowledges and seeks to redress the systems of oppression that resulted from the colonization of Indigenous nations globally and here with Canada.

At the heart of decolonization is the acknowledgement that Canadians live on stolen homelands and colonialism has imparted violence on Indigenous peoples. The recent murder of mother Chantel Moore by a police officer in Edmunston, New Brunswick, during a wellness check, and  nine days later, Rodney Levi, a Metepenagiag First Nation man shot and killed by New Brunswick police reminds all of us that Indigenous people are still targeted for murder by police in Canada.

It can be difficult to come to terms with the ongoing colonial violence Indigenous people face and what this looks like in a university setting. A decolonizing praxis involves questioning the overrepresentation of Indigenous families in the child welfare and justice systems, the inequities in healthcare and education, the harmful impacts of white privilege and white fragility, and the misrepresentations of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis histories and identities. A decolonizing praxis involves questioning our own involvement in the injustices and inequities for Indigenous peoples; it requires honoring revitalizing Indigenous knowledges, languages, laws, and governance and also honoring treaty relationships, and resolving the land question.

Our call is the same as the mother of Chantel Moore; Come Together as one…to demand safety and protection for all Indigenous peoples in Canada and globally. To radically reform and eliminate the systemic persecution of Indigenous children, youth and families that are also targeted by the justice system.  On National Indigenous Peoples Day, we can come together as one…to demand and implement change to move towards equity and wellness.

Helga Kristín Hallgrímsdóttir,
Associate Professor, 
School of Public Administration
Senior Researcher, Borders in Globalization Project
Associate Fellow in the Centre for Global Studies                                                               
University of Victoria

A few resources to share:

·       National Indigenous Peoples day 2020 celebrations

·       Native Currents

·       This Land


·       All My Relations

·       The Jig Is Up

·       Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo

·       Coffee With My Ma

UVic’s Legacy Gallery has two new exhibits. To Fish As Formerly: A Story of Straits Salish Resurgence, curated by alumni Katie Hughes and XEMŦOLTW Dr. Nicholas Claxton (Child and Youth Care), tells the story of the SXOLE (reef net fishery) through contemporary art, traditional knowledge and historical documentation. Also, TUKTUUYAQTUUQ (Caribou Crossing), by alumna Maureen Gruben. The gallery has new hours and maximum 10 visitors at a time.