GUELPH – Mike Schreiner issued the following statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day:
“On National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we celebrate and honour the significant contributions and customs of Metis, Inuit, and First Nations peoples.
In the face of colonialism and cultural genocide, Indigenous communities have fought hard to preserve the traditional practices, art forms, languages, and teachings of their culture.
Indigenous teachings on sustainability and community are critical to help us be better stewards of the land and water. I feel particularly indebted to Indigenous waterkeepers whose traditional knowledge has taught me so much.
That is why on this National Indigenous Peoples Day, I am calling on the provincial government to support Indigenous culture, traditions, and ways of knowing by:
- Reinstating support for the Indigenous Culture Fund.
- Restoring funding for the Indigenous curriculum program and working with Indigenous educators and community leaders to develop a mandatory curriculum on Indigenous histories, experiences and ways of knowing.
- Providing funding to support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous teachers and instructors in schools, particularly Indigenous language teachers.
- Providing $1B in funding for Indigenous-protected and conserved areas, in which Indigenous governments play the primary role in protecting and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws and traditional knowledge systems.
Finally, I ask that the government immediately implement UNDRIP and work with the federal government to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to ensure equity and move Ontario from words to action.”