International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

 

 
August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. Progress has been made, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
–in which Canada became a full supporter as of May 2016– however, indigenous peoples “overwhelmingly continue to face discrimination, marginalization and major challenges in enjoying their basic rights” (United Nations).
 
These challenges remain true in Canada, and are evident at CUPS with approximately one-third of our 9,000 plus participants being Aboriginal, which is a vast overrepresentation since Calgary’s Aboriginal population is only 3% of the population. It is not a surprise that CUPS has a high percentage of Aboriginal people accessing our services, given what research says about the impacts of trauma on the brain, its effects on physical and mental health later in life, and how environmental influences can actually change the way genes are expressed as they are passed through generations. It is with the help of this research that we better understand why the consequences of residential schools still haunt us to this day, not only with students having experienced the trauma of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, but with the odds of children dying in the residential schools being comparable to those of Canadians dying while serving in WWII.
 
With today being the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we note the progress made thus far, but also recognize that there is so much more to be done. We all have a role in increasing our awareness of the systemic issues Aboriginal peoples face, fostering healthy relationships, and adopting the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Let’s together, journey on a path to reconciliation and a better future for all.

#WeAreIndigenous


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