We’re in a moment of mourning and reckoning, confronted in a way that can’t be avoided by the very worst of ongoing colonialism.

215 Indigenous children’s remains were found in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, or Kamloops, British Columbia.

While the Ford Conservatives applaud their vaccination plan and take steps towards reopening, we’re witnessing the unfolding crisis in the Kashechewan First Nation where there are now well over 200 active cases of COVID-19 in a population of 1,800. Most of the cases are among people under the age of 17, by far the most being under 12.

Dozens of First Nations in Ontario still have long-term drinking water advisories.

In Caledonia, Ontario Six Nations Land Defenders are still resisting the Mackenzie Meadows housing development project. They’re still subjected to violence and state surveillance.

But this moment of mourning is being followed by a movement, the reckoning by resistance.

In the knowledge that there would be more remains uncovered, CUPE Ontario stood among others to call for a full investigation of the over 140 residential schools scattered across the country, including the 15 residential schools in this province alone. And more than ever, we’re seeing the creation of space to hear directly from residential school survivors.

In solidarity with 1492 Land Back Lane, CUPE Ontario is part of a chorus of voices calling for a moratorium on further development of the Haldimand Tract until proper proceedings have taken place.

And residents of the Kashechewan First Nation are responding to the failures of the Ford Conservatives by naming the problem – unaffordable, crowded housing; lack of access to health care – and calling for Provincial supports for Indigenous, community-led vaccination efforts, and a rapid roll out once vaccines are approved for younger children.

In celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day, we celebrate the long history of resistance to colonialism. We celebrate those instances of resistance that have made it in the history books as well as the everyday acts of resistance playing out in our communities, workplaces, and schools.

On this day, and always, CUPE Ontario recommits to achieving real reconciliation, the reclaiming of land and language, and the recognition of this beautiful history of resistance.

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