June is National Indigenous History Month

In light of the news that 215 unmarked graves of children were found at Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation, and that hundreds more were found elsewhere in Canada, this year’s National Indigenous History Month feels very much like a time to reflect and learn about the historic and ongoing oppression, systemic racism and intergenerational trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples in BC and across Canada. DABC mourns with the Indigenous community on this profound loss, acknowledging that further action by First Nations to identify unmarked graves at residential schools continues and additional losses will be revealed.

DABC recognizes the importance of safety for Indigenous people, and particularly Indigenous people living with disabilities. Our organization works with community organizations and government programs in the violence prevention and response sector to address violence against people with disabilities, of which Indigenous women living with disabilities are some of the most affected. Some of this work is done in direct partnership with Indigenous communities.

While this statement is in recognition of National Indigenous History Month, DABC recognizes that we can and must celebrate Indigenous people and culture year-round. As an organization that employs staff, volunteers and members of our board who are non-Indigenous, there is much for DABC to learn and take action in order for us to be sincerely working towards decolonization and to support Indigenous people with disabilities in a more impactful way.

We encourage all members of our network to read the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which can be found here: http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf. The first 42 calls to action are to rectify the legacy done by several decades of cultural genocide to Indigenous youth and families affected by the residential school system. We recognize the importance of first learning this legacy before true reconciliation and decolonization can take place in BC and across Canada.