This September 30th marks the first annual Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. This will be a statutory holiday at the federal level and in some provinces, but has not been declared statutory in Quebec.
ACCM is an organization that serves people living with HIV (PLHIV) and hepatitis C on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka land, in a city that is home to a diversity of Indigenous people from many nations. ACCM’s obligations are to a community among whom Indigenous people are overrepresented: while First Nations, Métis, and Inuit account for only 4.9% of the total population, 11.3% of all new HIV infections in 2016 in Canada were among Indigenous peoples (hyperlink to ref). These higher rates of HIV and hepatitis C among Indigenous peoples in Canada are a result of the legacy of colonialism, residential school system, and ongoing genocide , that further led to intergenerational trauma, ongoing suppression of self-determination, disconnection from traditional lands, systemic racism, and marginalization in regard to social determinants of health. Trauma needs to be acknowledged, addressed, and healed, but structural changes are required too. Non-Indigenous people must ensure that changes happen at the individual, organizational, societal, and political levels.
As a non-Indigenous organization, ACCM is committed to actively learn and improve our practices. To this end, ACCM offices will be closed on September 30th, to focus on reading, learning, and reflecting on our own practices and programming and how to decolonize our work.
ACCM encourages its Staff, Members, Volunteers, and community to educate themselves on Canada’s ongoing colonialism. The following resources may be helpful:
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR): https://nctr.ca/
- Schedule for Truth and Reconciliation Week: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/general-public-schedule/
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s “Calls to Action”: http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
- The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ “Calls for Justice”: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Calls_for_Justice.pdf
- The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s Indigenous Knowledge Portal: https://fncaringsociety.com/ikp
- Indigenous Canada, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies:https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/indigenous-canada/index.html
- Northern Quebec: Issues, Spaces and Cultures, a MOOC offered in English and French at Université Laval: https://www.ulaval.ca/en/academics/mooc-massive-open-online-courses/northern-quebec-issues-spaces-and-cultures
ACCM’s Call for action to address the legacy of the Indian Residential School System: https://accmontreal.org/re-call-for-action-to-address-the-legacy-of-the-indian-residential-school-system/