Board Announces Paid Indigenous Holidays June 21 and September 30

Sep 20 2021

Walking TogetherThe Social Development Centre Waterloo Region is providing June 21st, National Indigenous Peoples Day, and September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as holidays with pay for staff. The Board voted for this unanimously, for three reasons:

First, we recognize the ongoing physical and cultural genocide of Canada’s Indigenous peoples –including murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, the trans-generational legacy of crimes against humanity and trauma of residential schools, and the continued alienation of Indigenous lands and means of livelihood, with the persistent lack of access to drinking water and sanitation infrastructure which results in forced dependency on Settler-created forms of governance, enforcement and judiciary systems. 

Second, we recognize and respect Indigenous rights to self-determination, restitution, repatriation and reconciliation. The forced dependency has to be replaced with full recognition of the traditional teachings and knowledge creation, environmental, cultural, social and economic forms of Indigenous governance as equally valid and life sustaining. Respecting these rights requires the realization of true partnerships based on existing land and treaty agreements and nation-to-nation relationships. In order to bring these relationships to their full reality, the Indian Act must be abolished so that the rights of all Indigenous peoples, including urban Indigenous populations outside of Reserves, become the foundation of a new Canadian society and polity.

Third, this is one of the steps we are taking in Waterloo Region towards recognizing the legacy, culture and right to self-determination of local First Nations, Metis and Inuit in both urban and rural settings. SDCWR supports the current moratorium on development in Haldimand Tract, the dedication of land and spaces for ceremonies and gatherings, and the reallocation of funding from mainstream and centralized systems and institutions to Indigenous-led organizations working in the area of environmental, social, cultural and economic rights. Along with our staff members, we will use these National days of observance to reflect, participate in community events, expand our awareness, and support one another in the ongoing work of restitution and reconciliation.