Systemic racism: what future for the upcoming Indigenous generations?
WENDAKE, Quebec, June 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ) is immensely proud of the events organized by the Native Friendship Centres of Québec for National Indigenous Peoples Day that took place yesterday. Over and above this day, the richness of Indigenous cultures, their diversity, and their contribution to society must be highlighted and celebrated the year round!
The RCAAQ would like to give a reminder of the different inequalities, discrimination, and systemic racism experienced by the Indigenous people of the province, due to insufficient efforts of the Québec and Canadian governments to hear the concerns and denunciations of First Nations and Inuit peoples.In the last years, the provincial and federal governments established numerous enquiry commissions to obtain testimonies from thousands of Indigenous people and dozens of organizations on the discrimination and realities experienced by First Nations and Inuit peoples: the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec: listening, reconciliation and progress. Despite all the recommendations brought forward in the ensuing reports of these commissions, nothing has changed significantly and, on the contrary, some situations have degenerated.How many studies and commissions will be necessary to repeat over and over again, and have the governments understand that the Indigenous people are overrepresented in our prison system, that Indigenous children are overrepresented in the youth protection system, that Indigenous women and girls are murdered in silence, that Indigenous people are victims of racism in the Quebec network of public services? Though the data exists, actions do not follow.“At this time, nothing is being done to improve living conditions for Indigenous people. During the Viens Commission, many Indigenous people shared their stories of how they experienced discrimination and racism in dealing with the employees of Québec’s public systems. However, to date, there has been no reform announced by the various police forces, justice system, health and social services system, and other departments representing discriminatory institutions, according to testimonies submitted under oath by Indigenous citizens. Indigenous and social issues become important when a tragedy is publicized or when pressure on government becomes too much. The issues affecting First Nations and Inuit peoples are too often and quickly forgotten when a report or recommendations are published after an enquiry commission. For partisan or political reasons, they are put up on a shelf and no concrete action is initiated.”Phillippe Meilleur, RCAAQ PresidentTanya Sirois, Executive Director, RCAAQ, is concerned about what the future holds for Indigenous youth and families by blocking the necessary funding for their well-being and security. “The Native Friendship Centres are daily witnesses to situations of injustice and inequality, or that do not respect basic human rights”, she states.The Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du QuébecThe RCCAQ represents 11 affiliated Native Friendship Centres in the following cities: Chibougamau, Joliette, La Tuque, Maniwaki, Montréal, Québec City, Roberval, Senneterre, Sept-Îles, Trois-Rivières and Val-d’Or. For 50 years, the RCAAQ has advocated for the rights and interests of Indigenous citizens in Quebec cities by offering a continuum of frontline services. The Native Friendship Centres’ mission is to improve quality of life for Indigenous people in urban centres, to promote the culture and to build bridges between people.