National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: FCJ Refugee Centre Statement

For 30 years, we at the FCJ Refugee Centre have been walking with uprooted people. We remain unwavering, and relentless in our commitment to walk with people who have faced and continue to experience exclusion, marginalization and oppression. Today and every day we stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities across this country.

Canada’s history begins with the colonization of Indigenous land, upon which we have built a foundation of false hopes and empty promises to all First Nations people.

While our country mourns together over the ongoing discoveries of the remains of Indigenous children on multiple sites of residential schools, we must not forget that anti-Indigenous racism and prejudice is not just in Canada’s past. It is very much a part of our society today. While this may be shocking to some, to far too many others it is a daily reminder of Canada’s gross mistreatment, abuse, and exploitation of Indigenous peoples, their land, and their communities.

We stand in grief and solidarity with Indigenous Peoples across Canada who were forcibly sent to residential schools. We stand with them, as they face the trauma caused by the church and the Canadian government alike, through residential schools, and many other forms of systematic and ongoing racism. We acknowledge the impact that colonialism, systemic racism, and violence have on members of this community. Although many in our community have been displaced by similar forces of racism, neocolonialism, the transatlantic slave trade, the rise of fascist movements, and unfettered commercial exploitation in our countries of origin, we recognize that our organization is not free of racism, and pledge to take an active part in decolonization and reconciliation.

We recognize how we have profited from Canada’s colonialism, and we at the FCJ Refugee Centre would like to acknowledge the land on which its establishment is housed, and where staff, volunteers and members alike gather. This land is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations.

We urge the Canadian government to continue to investigate all 130+ residential school burial sites and bring justice to the families. Our elected officials must work with Indigenous leaders, allow room for self-autonomy and must always prioritize the best interest of indigenous children and their communities. As a community we must also educate ourselves with the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to create change and work with indigenous communities.

This time demands from us thoughtful consideration of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Report. We must demand action from our elected officials.

We must demand that all children are taught the true history of the land upon which we live.

We commit ourselves to participate in active reflection, and reconciliation of the true and terrible foundation upon which Canada was built.

On stolen land.

With stolen sons and daughters.

As we approach the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation we commit unwavering support and solidarity. Together we will reflect. We will continue to learn. And we will teach our sons and daughters the truth of our history, so it shall never be repeated again.

We honour the victims, survivors, and all families impacted by the trauma inflicted upon generations of Indigenous communities through action, not simply words.

Please join us, and join the calls to action.