Today is National Indigenous People’s Day where everyone can learn about the history, cultures, and resilience of Indigenous People. Here in the Northwest Territories, on the traditional lands of First Nations, Inuit and Metis People we come together to acknowledge the past, continue to repair relationships, and look toward a peaceful and respectful future for all people.
The Indigenous People of this land we call Canada are vibrant, resilient, leaders who have lived with the lands on which settlers now make their homes and livings. Settlers can learn more about Indigenous People’s experiences and the continuing impact that colonization plays in the day-to-day lives of Indigenous People.
Systems arising from the colonization of Canada continue to negatively affect Indigenous People at a disproportionate rate. Indigenous People are at greater risk of poverty, negative health, outcomes, physical and social violence, incarceration, and suicide than any other groups in Canada. We can improve these outcomes by working together to protect the equality rights of Indigenous People here in the NWT, and across Canada.
While it is important to recognize and work to address the negative impacts of colonialism on Indigenous People, it is also important to recognize the many vibrant ways Indigenous People contribute to our communities and to the fabric of Canadian culture. How we live and work in our communities here in the North depends on healthy, respectful relations between settlers and Indigenous People, relations that respect the dignity and autonomy of the First Peoples of Canada. It is important today, a day we recognize Indigenous People, but we need to continue to do the work of reconciliation every day of the year.
The Commission urges everyone to take time to reflect on their personal relationships with Indigenous people and to call out injustices when they see them. Human Rights are for everyone regardless of their ancestry or ethnic origin.
The NWT Human Rights Commission works to promote a culture of inclusion through education and discussion about equality human rights and the NWT Human Rights Act.
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