How can we make Canada Day meaningful? By taking time on July 1 to reflect and collectively mourn about recent events as we learn more about the horrors and abuse that took place in residential schools.
We grieve alongside Indigenous Peoples and communities as we validate tragic events in our history. Of course, the most recent ones being the deeply disturbing news of 751 unmarked graves being accounted for at the former Marieval Indian Residential School in the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and another 182 human remains located in unmarked graves at the former St. Eugene's Mission Residential School in the Ktunaxa Nation in Cranbrook.
Canada Day needs to be about respectful reflection — to listen and to learn about the history of Canada and understand all the ways Indigenous people have suffered and are suffering today. Again, we’re calling for decolonization, and real action toward reconciliation.
The BCGEU stands with Indigenous Peoples from coast to coast to coast. We strongly support the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s 94 Calls to Action which cover a variety of aspects of life in Canada that include business, education, health, youth, women, justice and more. We implore all non-Indigenous people to read each of the 94 calls to action, to cultivate a deeper understanding of the impact of intergenerational trauma and systemic racism and work together to dismantle colonialism.
What can you do?
Your union has gathered a variety of resources including suggestions of some Indigenous businesses to support, Indigenous social media thought leaders to follow, and links for non-Indigenous people to better understand Canada’s painful colonial legacy and its impact on Indigenous peoples.
Please take the time and learn.
Actions matter: Your union remains more committed than ever to strengthening relationships with Indigenous members and all Indigenous peoples.
Donate: Indian Residential School Survivors Society
IndigiNews: Help decolonize the media by becoming an IndigiNews supporter.
Acknowledging territory shows recognition of and respect for Aboriginal Peoples. Find out more about local Indigenous territories and languages
Guide to Indigenous organizations and services
A listing of Indigenous community-based services and organizations in B.C.:
A-Z listing of First Nations in B.C.
An alphabetical listing of First Nations in B.C., and links to further information
A Manual for Decolonization Whose Land Is It Anyway?
A Manual for Decolonization was inspired by a 2016 speaking tour by Arthur Manuel, less than a year before his untimely passing in January 2017.
First Nations historical dates in Canada
Historical timeline in B.C.: a timeline and history of Aboriginal Peoples in British Columbia (link to:
B.C. First Nations history
First Nations of North America have always been self-sustaining societies with complex social, economic and political structures. Read this brief historical overview of First Nations in B.C., starting with the signing of a Royal Proclamation in October 1763.
A child-friendly version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
It’s never too early to start teaching our children.
Indigenous Women and the Story of Canada | Sarah Robinson | The Walrus Talks
BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Facebook Group
BCFED Indigenous Workers Group
BCGEU guide to First Nations acknowledgement, protocol & terminology
Indigenous thought leaders to follow on social media:
Cindy Blackstock: a Canadian-born Gitxsan activist for child welfare and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
Jody Wilson-Raybould: Independent MP—Vancouver Granville, former Minister of VAC, Justice and Attorney General of Canada, BC Regional Chief
Khelsilem: Indigenous leader and spokesperson with Squamish Nation
Angela Sterritt: Academy (CSA) award winning journalist — best local reporter in Canada, 2021. Gitxsan/Amsiwa
Ryan McMahon: Anishinaabe comedian, podcaster and writer from the Couchiching First Nation
Brandi Morin: Cree/Iroquois/French, Awarded Journalist
Pam Palmater: Lawyer, Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick
Tanya Talaga: Storyteller, writer, filmmaker
Bob Chamberlin: Indigenous leader
Wawmeesh Hamilton: CBC Radio syndicated columnist
Candis Callison: Author, Reckoning: Journalism’s Limits and Possibilities (2020)
Anna Mary Mckenzie: IndigiNews reporter
Odette Auger: Indigenous Journalist
Gordon Loverin: A certified director, an accomplished screenwriter and an experienced journalist
Steph Eva Wood: Reporter for The Narwhal
Bob Joseph: Author of national bestseller 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act.
Indigenous podcasts to follow
48 books by Indigenous writers to read to understand residential schools
Films by Indigenous filmmakers
REEL Canada: Indigenous made film catalogue
Indigenous-owned businesses to check out and support
- Spirit Bear Coffee Company
- Sḵwálwen Botanicals
- Mr. Bannock Indigenous Cuisine
- Spirit Works Limited
- Satya Organics
- Talaysay Tours
- River Select Fisheries
- Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro
- Skwachays Lodge
- One Arrow Meats
- Sisters Sage
- Cheekbone Beauty
- Kekuli Café
- Section 35 clothing
- Evan Ducharme fashion
- Just a Little Native Etsy Shop
- Raven Reads: Indigenous book subscriptions
- Skwachàys Lodge: Aboriginal Hotel & Gallery
- Quaaout Lodge and Spa at Talking Rock Golf Resport
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
- Executive Private Chef Shirley Lang
- Nk’Mip Winery
- Indigenous World Winery
- Bill Reid Gallery
- Indigenous Tourism BC
- Facebook: Shop Indigenous Women’s Market
The BCGEU is located on the Unceded Territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skxwú7mesh (Squamish) & Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Learn more about local Indigenous territories and languages: https://native-land.ca/
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