FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JOINT STATEMENT WITH RMWB
(June 29, 2021, Fort McMurray, AB) – The Athabasca Tribal Council has engaged in discussions with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on Canada Day celebrations taking place July 1st.
The previous month has confirmed hundreds of unmarked children’s graves at the sites of former Canadian Indian Residential Schools; totalling 1323 graves—and that number will only continue to rise as more confirmations are made at more former school grounds.
International focus is on Canada for the crimes against Indigenous people by a system enacted by the same historical figures who founded Canada. With Canada Day fast approaching, there has been much debate amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups on whether or not to cancel celebrations on July 1st.
“ATC is respectful of each individual and communities’ decision in regards to any recognition of the July 1st National Holiday,” said Chief Allan Adam, President of the Athabasca Tribal Council. “We recognize that each person grieves in different ways and that any celebration might upset some. It is our hope that on July 1st and beyond, people will take the opportunity to have an open dialogue about our past, present and future as both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people work together towards a stronger Canada.”
The Athabasca Tribal Council would like to see Canada Day in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo go forward, with a strong emphasis on building a Canada that we want to see for future generations. It is paramount that Canadians of all backgrounds acknowledge the past that must never be forgotten so that we can move forward towards true reconciliation. On this Canada Day, ATC encourages all individuals to listen and learn about the history of Canada that has not been taught in schools. Read the Truth & Reconciliation report and the 94 calls to action. Wear orange, have discussions with your family and friends about how individually each of us can contribute to reconciliation.
Community-led Bring Our Children Home Healing Rally and Canada Day Parade
ATC and the RWMB will be supporting the community-led “Bring Our Children Home Healing Rally” which will begin at 10 a.m. at the Provincial building. This Healing Rally will be a march that will travel the Canada Day parade route along Clearwater Drive, in the opposite direction of parade attendees. This march will take place on foot, and vehicles will not be able to participate. This Healing Rally will honour every child that attended residential schools. Please maintain social distancing and public health measures. Community members can register to attend the Canada Day Parade in their vehicles at rmwb.ca/CanadaDay.
We ask that all community members wear orange in solidarity with Indigenous people in Canada. ATC will continue working together with the RMWB, creating more steps towards truth-telling, action and healing in our region and beyond.
“As we reflect on Canada Day and what it means to each of us, let’s use this day to listen and learn from each other, and the truth of this country’s history, while taking action to strengthen our personal commitments to reconciliation. Regardless of how you choose to mark July 1, I encourage everyone to make this a thoughtful day, while reflecting on the traumatic legacy of the residential school system, and how we all can commit to meaningful reconciliation,” said Mayor Don Scott
Together we can build a future for Canada that we can all be proud of and celebrate.
Athabasca Tribal Council is an organization that serves our First Nations by providing relevant and innovative programs and services that enrich the well-being, health and prosperity of its people. ATC is committed to ensuring the protection of inherent rights, Treaty Rights, and their Traditional Territories while respecting the autonomy of each Nation. For information, visit atcfn.ca.
FOR MORE INFO PLEASE CONTACT
Chief Allan Adam
President, Athabasca Tribal Council
Chief, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo