National Indigenous Peoples Day is a time to celebrate the Indigenous peoples whose territories stretch across this vast land from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic Oceans.
However, in addition to celebrating Indigenous culture, we must also recommit to learning about Indigenous history, reconciling that we all benefit from a system that has caused incalculable harm to Indigenous peoples, and acting on that information.
This Spotlight on Solutions explores ways we can undo some of the harm caused by our colonial history and address today's policy failures.
Regional Indigenous Child Protection Offices
The legacy of the "Sixties Scoop" is not behind us. Instead, today we see a "Millennial Scoop" where Indigenous children are still being removed from their culture and communities.
The Alberta Liberals support funding new regional Indigenous child protection offices to be organized by, gifted to and run by First Nations in Alberta. This bold strategy will help ensure Indigenous children remain in the care of their communities.
Justice for Indigenous Peoples
The justice system must treat Indigenous peoples fairly and account for the unfair circumstances many of them face. Indigenous peoples must also have the sovereign authority to develop and control their justice systems. In the meantime, to ensure true justice for Indigenous peoples, we support:
- Amending the Jury Act to make juries more diverse and representative.
- Ensuring the Gladue Principles apply to Provincial offences and require the court to consider Indigenous peoples' unique circumstances.
- Deploying Indigenous-based sentencing principles such as restorative justice.
- Ending the practice of "carding.
The education system could be more effective in improving the lives of Indigenous peoples in Alberta. The Alberta Liberals support funding Indigenous Language Immersion Programs and revisions to the curriculum to explain the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada more accurately.
We must commit to fulfilling the Crown's legal duty to consult and accommodate First Nations on resource development and fairly share in all resource revenues derived from their traditional territories.
We must also commit to adequately funding social services for Indigenous peoples, respecting First Nations Treaty Rights, and much more.
On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, we ask all Albertans to shine a spotlight on these issues.
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