AMAPCEO Celebrates Indigenous History Month
Publish date: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 update
AMAPCEO recognizes June as Indigenous History Month—an occasion to highlight and to reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada and to recognize and celebrate equality.
Read our profile on Indigenous resources:
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto virtual resources during COVID-19
Since the start of COVID-19, social media has played a large role in helping Indigenous communities share information and resources and stay connected with families and friends.
Indigenous communities are now relying on virtual programming to maintain culture and tradition. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) has extended their services during the pandemic to include virtual programs and resources.
NCFST is a multi-service urban Aboriginal agency providing child safety and well-being, holistic, and culture-based programs and services for over 7,000 Aboriginal children and families across the Greater Toronto Area.
Some of their virtual programming includes:
- virtual storytelling and sing-along circles;
- online text and audio recordings of Indigenous stories;
- digital historical and cultural resources from diverse First Nations;
- virtual camping, and much more.
For more programs and resources during the pandemic, visit their Instagram page.
Native Women’s Association of Canada
As we shared last week, social media is playing a more prominent role in connecting Indigenous communities during COVID-19.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) represents the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada. Their goal is to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women throughout the country.
Through their website and Facebook page, women can find the virtual resources they may need to support them through the pandemic, such as education, arts and crafts, book clubs, culinary resources, live dance and music, and social distance pow wows.
For programs and resources, visit their Facebook page.
Indigenous People and Natural Medicine
Traditional wellness is central to healing and improving the health of Indigenous people. Many Indigenous cultures have used plants and natural materials native to the land to treat various ailments and conditions for centuries. In many Indigenous communities, there are many recognized specialists trained in natural, base plant medicine that focuses on physical healing, as well as the effects of spiritual therapy.
According to the study Traditional use of medicinal plants in the Boreal Forest of Canada: review and perspectives, “there are a total of 546 medicinal plant taxa used by the Aboriginal people of the Canadian boreal forest. These plants were used to treat over 28 diseases and disorders.”
In the past, scientists gave little consideration to the medicinal knowledge of the Indigenous people, however, this study recommends that “future ethnobotanical research endeavors should focus on documenting the knowledge held by Indigenous people and their use of plant medicine”.
(Resources: The Canadian Encyclopedia; “Traditional use of medicinal plants in the Boreal forest of Canada: Review and perspectives"; Traditional plant foods of Canadian Indigenous People.)
Challenge4Change – Indigenous Language App
Residential schools in Canada aimed to keep Indigenous cultures, including languages, from being passed down through generations. To counter this systemic decline, the Challenge4Challenge language app was launched last year by the Wikwemikong First Nation and Synergiq Solutions in hopes of revitalizing and teaching Indigenous languages. The free app allows anyone to exchange common words and phrases in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibwe language!
Although it may seem strange that the answer to preserving ancient languages can be found in modern apps, there has been a groundswell of activism led by Indigenous youth to keep their languages active. Across Canada, activists are using new platforms to draw attention to their efforts, including sharing words of the day on Twitter and recording popular songs in their Indigenous language with great success. In fact, Grade 10 student Emma Stevens recorded a version of the popular Beatles song Blackbird in Mi’kmaq that went so viral even Paul McCartney saw it and gave it a shout out!
The Challenge4Change app is just one of the first steps in preserving languages. A fundraising program was established so that the app can incorporate more languages, as well as expand to full range of culture-learning platforms. We’re excited to see what it grows into next!
The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto
The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT) provides support to Aboriginal women and families across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The goal of the NWRCT is to offer a safe and welcoming environment for all Aboriginal women and families in the GTA. Their work is informed by the seven sacred teachings of wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth.
The NWRCT was founded in 1985 when a group of Aboriginal women identified the need for place in Toronto where Aboriginal women could gather to share resources, support each other, and practice traditional ways.
Their programs fall under six categories:
For more information about the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, visit their portal.
Legacy of Hope Foundation
The Legacy of Hope Foundation is a national, Indigenous-led, charitable organization that raises awareness about the history and existing intergenerational impacts of the Residential School System and Sixties Scoop on Indigenous survivors, their descendants, and their communities. In so doing, it aims to promote healing and Reconciliation, and to create just and equal relationships among all people in Canada.
The Legacy of Hope Foundation works with teachers, school boards, universities, policing agencies, governments, officials, banks, unions, private businesses, and citizens to address racism and discrimination and enrich knowledge and understanding. It offers the following educational tools:
Workshops and training; and
For more information about the Legacy of Hope Foundation, visit their website.
(Thank you to the AMAPCEO Indigenous Circle for recommending these profiles for Indigenous History Month)
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).