Today, June 21st, is Indigenous Peoples Day. Guelph New Democrats recognize that we are a group primarily composed of settlers, which engages in electoral politics within a colonial system. This system actively harms the rights, responsibilities, laws, and cultures of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.
We know it is our responsibility to work towards Truth and Reconciliation and that we owe committed respect and advocacy to the Mississaugas of the Credit and all Indigenous people who live in Guelph today.
The history of the NDP includes instances of upholding colonial violence, both here and abroad. We must not forget that silence on Indigenous struggles, whether it's the RCMP invasion of Wet'suwet'en territory, criminalization of land defenders, or the police aggression faced by Indigenous people is not much different from complicity in systemic racism and settler colonialism.
We stand in solidarity with Indigenous New Democrat leaders fighting for justice, highlighting some comments by Inuk MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq given during her parliamentary farewell speech, “This place was built on the oppression of Indigenous Peoples… Our history is stained with blood.” While this may be hard to hear for some, this is the Canadian reality. Furthermore, we highlight MP Qaqqaq’s Private Member's Bill that would amend the Canada Elections Act to ensure that Indigenous voters are able to cast ballots in their own languages.
We also stood behind First Nations MP Leah Gazan when she said “It’s time this government acknowledges the truth that Canada and churches perpetrated genocide on Indigenous peoples, specifically children,” regarding the residential “school” system. We know that Canada’s genocide against Indigenous Peoples is ongoing and not just a dark chapter in a history book, but the entire plot of Canadian history.
We’re also ready to fight for housing justice and clean water for Indigenous communities, and focus on the work of ONDP MPP Sol Mamakwa, particularly the “Inherent Right to Safe Drinking Water Act.”
We strive to foster change locally and improve on the legacy of the NDP by bringing local Indigenous voices to the forefront. Examining the past year, we have seen how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Indigenous communities. We have also reflected on our past year as the Guelph New Democrats, and recognize that we must do better as a local group to fight for Indigenous justice. Going forward, we will be devoting time during each of our meetings to discuss action items, be it statements of solidarity, donations, resources to share, and so on, to strengthen the fight for Indigenous justice.
Your Guelph NDP