Truth & Reconciliation Beyond Sept 30

October 2, 2023

Canada’s unions marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on September 30, by calling for greater accountability and action from the government to fulfill its promises on reconciliation.

“Today we must all take time to remember and honour all the Indigenous children taken from their homes, families, and communities to be sent to residential schools, where they faced mistreatment, violence and abuse. No child should have to endure these atrocities, nor should any community have to experience the fallout of these racist policies,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

34% of our Canadian population is Indigenous, First Nations, Metis or Inuit—all families of residential school survivors. For survivors, their families, and the families of the children who never made it home, the traumatic impacts of the residential school system continue to be felt today. The ongoing discovery of the graves of thousands of Indigenous children at former residential schools, and the slow degree to which action has been taken to release records on residential schools to survivors and their families, creates additional trauma for community members.

Consider that only recently, ground scans at Choutla (Carcross Residential School) have confirmed anomalies that align with the reports from residential school survivors of grave sites.  This is the first of many sites in Yukon to be scanned, which is only another small step to uncovering the tragedies of our past. 

photo Former Chooutla Indian Residential School at Carcross, Yukon (1972). Source: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

In order to redress the legacy of systemic racism and advance the process of reconciliation in a meaningful way, it is imperative that the we address the harms caused by the residential school system, as well as the colonial policies and practices that have and continue to have devastating consequences for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

This is why on October 3, 2023, the President of the Yukon Federation of Labour along with workers from across Canada will be heading to Parliament to meet with Members of Parliament and Senators as part of CLC’s second National Indigenous Lobby Day. There they will urge lawmakers to take action on Indigenous justice, including:

  • Addressing the harms caused by the residential school system by implementing, without delay, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 71 through 76: Missing Children and Burial Information;
  • Providing appropriate funds and resources to support the development of essential publicly delivered water infrastructure and ensuring the elimination of all long-term boil water advisories in First Nations communities;
  • Immediately creating a national Red Dress Alert system to notify the public when an Indigenous woman, girl, or Two-Spirit person goes missing;
  • Releasing an implementation plan for the government’s National Action Plan, and accelerating fulfilment of all the Calls for Justice from the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people; and
  • Along with the government of Manitoba, prioritizing and adequately funding a search of the landfills to return Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris of Long Plain First Nation, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe to their loved ones without further delay.

Show your solidarity and join the calls by signing the CLC action letter and letting your MP know that you want to see concrete action for justice for Indigenous communities!

Other ways to take action at this time:

  • Visit CLC’s Indigenous Rights and Justice Resource Centre, for information and resources on tangible actions you can take to support Indigenous workers in your workplace, union, and community.
  • Show your support for Indigenous communities impacted by residential schools; wear an orange shirt, share a post that “every child matters”, and support indigenous beadwork and artists in your community. 
  • Educate yourself by learning about the truth of indigenous history for your neighbours and friends.  Be patient, kind and empathetic as you wait for their stories to be told when they are ready.  Look for indigenous sources of truth as we move forward. 

To find out more about Truth & Reconciliation in our territory, visit

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