June 26, 2017 – Saskatoon, SK: The National Farmers Union (NFU) is proud to endorse Idle No More’s “UNsettling Canada 150” Call to Action. As people across Canada are celebrating the 150th anniversary of confederation, the NFU is convinced that this is a crucial time to be addressing both the historical and ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples.
“Now is the time for the federal government to take action to dismantle the systemic barriers that are compromising Indigenous peoples’ rights and self-determination,” said Ayla Fenton, NFU Board Member. “Kind words and consultations are not enough.”
The NFU therefore strongly supports Idle No More’s demands, including the full implementation of the calls for action laid out by both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We call on the Liberal government to take swift action to resolve land claim disputes and violations of Indigenous treaty rights, and to rein in extractive industries whose projects threaten the well-being of Indigenous peoples in their territories.
“We know as farmers that we need to be having difficult conversations about how we have come to the land on which we are farming,” said Maureen Bostock, member of the NFU’s International Program Committee. “We need to figure out how to move forward together, given that non-Indigenous farmers have benefitted from access to lands acquired through deceitful, coercive or violent means.”
The NFU has recently established an Indigenous Solidarity Working Group, which is a sub-committee of its International Program Committee. Why does this solidarity work matter to a farm organization? Indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights are among the most important social justice issues in Canada. Our commitment to social justice and human rights internationally has been one of the fundamental tenets of the NFU; therefore, to not take up these struggles in our own country would be a betrayal of those principles. The Indigenous Solidarity Working Group has been created to help our membership understand our shared history and build solidarity with Indigenous communities through policy work and activism.
“We cannot have food sovereignty in Canada without Indigenous food sovereignty—and Indigenous self-determination in general,” said Fenton. “Our hope is that on July 1st, and on an ongoing basis, both farmers and non-farmers will take Idle No More’s call to action seriously.”
“That means facing some hard truths about the history and consequences of settler-colonialism in Canada,” added Bostock. “We need to work in solidarity with Indigenous peoples who are struggling to protect their lands and defend their rights.”
For more information, contact:
Ayla Fenton, NFU Board Member – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen Bostock, Member of the NFU International Program Committee, and the NFU Indigenous Solidarity Working Group – Email: email@example.com