OTTAWA – In March 2021, the House of Commons voted to recognise August 1, the day slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire, including the territories that came to be known as Canada. Slavery of trafficked Africans was introduced by colonists into these territories in the 1600s, and the practice of slavery was also inflicted on Indigenous Peoples and continued for hundreds of years until it was abolished on August 1, 1834.
“The experience of slavery underlines the relationship between Black and Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and strengthens our allyship,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “Colonialism has left a profoundly damaging legacy of racism which continues to affect our Peoples. Previously un-commemorated, and untaught, now is time for the history of Black and Indigenous Peoples to be shared widely.
“However, our oppression does not define us, and Emancipation Day is an opportunity to recognise the outstanding contributions of Black and Indigenous Peoples in every field of human endeavour, made all the more remarkable given the legacy of slavery. It is also the moment to celebrate our achievements, cultures, traditions, innovation, and leadership through artistic expression, including music, theatre, spoken word and dance.
“This Emancipation Day, the Green Party of Canada voices its continued support for implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We also call on the Government of Canada to implement the recommendations of the Report of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its Mission to Canada. Supporting Indigenous decision-making is key to fighting racism, the climate emergency and biodiversity loss. Empowering Black voices is key to reflecting our true history.
“This Emancipation Day, we join people in Canada in celebrating the accomplishments of Indigenous Peoples and Black communities, and in committing to fulfilling the calls to justice and Reconciliation.”
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