June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day on which we celebrate and honour the culture and significant contributions made by Indigenous peoples. From the wisdom passed down from generation to generation about this planet and the ecosystems alive around us to the significant inventions and discoveries, including commonly used medicines, there is no shortage of things that are a part of our everyday lives that can be traced backed to Indigenous peoples. Indigenous leadership, knowledge and stewardship has helped make life better for all.
In recognizing those contributions, it is just as important to acknowledge the inhospitable environment in which many of these contributions have been received. At FoodShare, we recognize the realities of systemic oppression and discrimination rooted in settler colonialism, white supremacy, and capitalism that has had profoundly negative impacts on Indigenous people for far too long.
Indigenous communities experience food insecurity at disproportionately higher rates than many other segments of the population. The people of Grassy Narrows First Nation are forced to live with the devastating consequences of half a century of mercury contamination of their rivers and lakes. Instead of action, this crisis has been met with decades of government denial and inaction. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was met with debate around the use of the term “genocide.” There should be no debate!
On National Indigenous People’s Day, FoodShare reasserts our commitment to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action by committing to integrating them into our work and collaborating with Indigenous groups working to advance Indigenous food sovereignty.
This National Indigenous Peoples Day, let’s stand with folks and organizations fighting for Indigenous rights across Turtle Island.
Paul M. Taylor & Crystal Sinclair