Today is Indigenous Peoples Day, an occasion to celebrate the rich culture, history and teachings of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Canada. The day also offers the opportunity to educate ourselves, so that we may appreciate the connection between history and the evidence of ongoing, multi-generational harm that is still present today.
Education is a life-long journey—it has no start and end date. We must actively pursue and encourage each other to understand the truth about our shared history, accepting and learning from it. Beyond learning, we must also be deliberate in how we show up everyday and work to eliminate Indigenous specific racism, and all other forms of racism. To do this requires self-reflection, to think about how our own biases and actions (or lack there of) have made us complicit in perpetuating racism in our health-care system.
We have an opportunity today to shape history moving forward. We must accept that we live in a racist society that has negatively affected Indigenous People and their communities for generations and acknowledge that we can do better. I encourage you to approach Indigenous Peoples Day and Indigenous History Month as an opportunity to start or revitalize your learning journey. To make a commitment to speaking up and against Indigenous-specific racism and giving it the every day attention it requires to affect change.
At PHSA, we’re fortunate to have guidance and wisdom from Indigenous thought leaders, such as Elder Gerry Oleman who has worked with many of our programs for over a decade, to support us on our journey. Watch this message from Elder Gerry in recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day.
In order to advance reconciliation, we must all commit ourselves to this learning journey and reflect on the individual actions we can take. Educating ourselves about Indigenous Peoples and cultures helps us recognize and correct unconscious biases that contribute to systemic racism that makes Indigenous People feel unsafe.
Thank you to all our PHSA team members for their reflections on this significant day and for their continued commitment to work together and move us forward on the path to reconciliation.