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QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement to mark National Indigenous History Month.

“On National Indigenous History Month, we honour the legacy, heritage and resilience of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across Ontario and Canada.

But we must also reckon with the reality of Canada’s colonial past and present.

Across the country, Indigenous communities are still uncovering unmarked graves on former residential school sites. It’s a stark reminder of the the brutal horrors and violence perpetrated by settlers on Indigenous children.

It’s also a reminder of the discrimination and violence that Indigenous peoples continue to face today.
It shows up in every corner of our society. In lack of access to clean drinking water in dozens of communities across the country. In systemic racism embedded in our medical, policing and education systems.

We need actions, not just words. We need a full commitment to combat the systemic racism and colonialism still present in our society as we work toward reconciliation.
This National Indigenous History Month, I’m calling for the provincial government to:

  • Provide funding to support Indigenous-led searches for lost children at each residential school site in the province;
  • Legislate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Orange Shirt Day) as a statutory holiday in Ontario; and
  • Fully implement all provincial calls outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action

This month, I also want to express my deepest gratitude to the Indigenous peoples who have cared for the land, the water, the plants and animals and people who live here.
It is vital that we look to Indigenous teachings on important lessons like stewardship, sustainability and community.

During Indigenous History Month, let’s celebrate Indigenous communities and their vibrant histories. But let’s also commit to addressing the issues of the past and present: systemic racism, colonialism and inequity.”

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