UBCIC Demands Elimination of Racial Discrimination

News Release
March 21, 2022

UBCIC Demands Elimination of Racial Discrimination

(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – March 21, 2022) Today the world observes the International Day of Eliminating Racial Discrimination, which commemorates the brave efforts of those fighting for peace, equality, and freedom and honours the 69 people that were shot and killed peacefully protesting apartheid “pass laws” in Sharpeville South Africa in 1960. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) honours their legacy of hope and empowerment and continues the work to dismantle the barriers facing Indigenous peoples and other racialized and marginalized communities across Canada and around the globe.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated “Today is a time for action, remembrance, and celebration. We remember and celebrate every single person who has stood against all forms of discrimination and intolerance. It doesn’t matter if the act is a small part of our everyday lives – if you stood up for someone, if you chose words and action over silence, if you comforted someone, if you felt compassion and empathy, then you are making a difference.” He continued, “For Indigenous peoples, today is also the day we reflect on progress and chart the path forward for further action to dismantle the systemic and institutionalized forms of racial discrimination that prevent Indigenous peoples from exercising their Title and Rights and advancing their safety and wellbeing. Our hearts and minds are also with the people of Ukraine today, particularly with any racialized groups who are experiencing intensified discrimination and violence as they flee war and conflict.”

“On International Day of Eliminating Racial Discrimination we also remember the colonial legacy of discrimination and cultural genocide that Canada has inflicted upon Indigenous peoples. From the Residential School System to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women,Girls and Two-Spirit Crisis (MMIWG2S+), our people continue to deal with intergenerational trauma and the ongoing impacts of intersecting forms of discrimination and violence,” stated Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice-President. “We must take hope and courage from the progress and change we are seeing – we applaud the recent commitment by the Province and Minister Jennifer Whiteside to conduct an independent investigation into racism in the public education system. More action, however, is needed to ensure that our precious youth are not stifled and harmed by colonized, discriminatory learning environments. We are pleased that the province has adjusted high school graduation requirements to include First Nations course content and we look forward to supporting the Indigenization of school curriculums that have for too long discounted Indigenous cultures and histories. Reconciliation, justice, and cultural humility must always be integrated into our learning and actions.”

“Today is an important reminder of how far racialized and marginalized communities have come –

around the world they have overcome challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the climate change crisis, and deadly wars and armed conflicts. In Canada, Indigenous peoples not only have had to deal with compounding crises and emergencies, including the opioid crisis and the MMIWG2S+ crisis, but have had to contend with a rising climate of intolerance and racism towards BIPOC communities, particularly in BC which saw the highest rate of hate crimes in Canada during the pandemic,” concluded Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer. “The general rise in racism and xenophobia has been unfortunately amplified by alt-right, anti-vax sentiments that have bolstered the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy.’ This trucker convoy has sown division, intolerance, and misinformation, and has generated shameful displays of unlawful violence and abhorrent racist conduct, including antisemitism. Today we must address and call out any movements that seek to proliferate hate and prejudice, and we must work together – each one of us – to ensure no one is left behind and that we are all treated equally with love, respect, and compassion.”

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Media inquiries:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 250-813-3315
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 778-866-0548

UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca

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