We write today with two statements, one regarding the tragedy of the 215 lost children at the former Kamloops Residential School, and the second regarding the hateful murder of the Afzaal family in London Ontario.
Statement on the Kamloops Residential School Tragedy
The APUO was devasted to hear of the 215 lost children at the former Kamloops Residential School site alongside the Tk’emlumps te Secwepemc First Nation and joins all survivors, families, and communities affected by residential schools in mourning. We also join the calls of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to investigate, locate, identify, and return home all children who have gone missing while in government-sponsored church-run residential schools.
We recognize that the Canadian colonial project is ongoing and continues to harm First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities through land dispossession and resource extraction, the displacement of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children from their families to state “care,” and through the federal government’s lack of action in implementing the recommendations the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
We denounce the federal government’s legal action to avoid financially compensating First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children taken into care as a result of a September 2019 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling, and its continued delays in implementing all of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action. The APUO also calls upon the Catholic Church to formally apologize for its role in running residential schools, and for all residential school records to be released
As a faculty association, the APUO also recognizes the role it must play in promoting the Indigenization of the University of Ottawa through collective bargaining, campus advocacy efforts, and by working with the local Algonquin Anishinaabe peoples.
Statement on the hateful murder of Muslim family in London
The APUO condemns in the strongest possible terms the hateful murder in London Ontario of Madiha Salman, Salman Afzaal, Yumna Afzaal and of Salman’s mother. Earlier this week, Madiha and Salman’s son, Fayez, the only survivor of the attack was released from the hospital. Racism, and Islamophobic acts of violence have no place in our society, and we are deeply troubled by the continued prevalence of such acts in our communities.
Concrete actions are necessary to combat systemic Islamophobia. This includes incorporating anti-racism and anti-Islamophobia into our education system. For the APUO, this begins with our commitment to continue advocating for a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable campus community. We recognize that for this goal to be realized, people of Muslim faith must feel welcome and safe in our university community. As such, we echo calls of the National Council of Canadian Muslims urging the Canadian Government to host a National Action Summit on Islamophobia to identify concrete steps to eradicate such hate.