February 21, 2011

Support Sisters in Spirit!

Support Sisters in Spirit!
Stop the attack on Aboriginal Organizations!

On the occasion of the 5th annual memorial cross-Canada Sister in Spirit marches and vigils, the Young Communist League of Canada expresses our continued solidarity and support with this campaign and the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC). We call for an immediate end to the dirty attack by the Harper Conservative government on Aboriginal people's organizations, including the Sisters in Spirit campaign.

The NWAC has identified close to 600 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. They have exposed the systemic nature of this racialized violence against women, including:

- corporate media neglect, racialism and sexism;
- brutality, victimization and negligence by the state especially the police, courts and prisons;
- governmental inaction and enforcement of cycles of poverty for Native communities

We consider the approach of the ruling class and the Canadian state towards Aboriginal nations as a continued policy of genocide. One aboriginal child in eight is disabled, double the rate of all children in Canada. Among First Nations children, 43 per cent lack basic dental care. Overcrowding among Aboriginal families is double the rate of that for all Canadian families, and mould contaminates almost half of all First Nations households. Almost half of Aboriginal children under 15 years old residing in urban areas live with a single parent. Close to 100 First Nations communities must boil their water. Of all off-reserve aboriginal children, 40 per cent live in poverty. The highest Aboriginal child poverty rates occur in B.C. (23.5 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (23.1 per cent).

The Harper Conservative government has perpetuated the violent colonial legacy of the Canadian state and ruling class; persistently attacking Aboriginal people's organizations such as unilaterally appointing, this February, a consumer safety group to scrutinize who is considered a Metis; continuing the 1996 two per cent cap on funding increases to the federal Post-Secondary Student Support Program (which falls below inflation); blocking and stalling on land negotiations and redressing violations of treaty rights; and denying core funding to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, First Nations University and the Sister's in Spirit campaign.

Forced to act as increasingly broad number of people in Canada have been outraged by violence against Aboriginal women, the Harper Conservatives allocated $10 million "to address the issue of missing and disappeared Native women," but re-directed it in November of last year away from the Sisters in Spirit and instead towards repressive policing efforts. This is also consistent with the government's anti-women approach as well as the heavy-handed policing methods witnessed at the G20this past summer.

It is time for the Canadian state and corporations 'to pay the rent' -- for stolen lands and justice denied. The YCL-LJC calls for swift and just settlement of all Aboriginal land claims, including natural resource-sharing agreements, and for emergency action to improve living conditions, employment, health and housing of Aboriginal peoples.

We also restate our support of the Communist Party of Canada's longstanding demand for relations of equality and justice among the nations in Canada with a new, democratic constitution based on an equal and voluntary partnership of the Aboriginal peoples, Quebec, and English-speaking Canada, recognizing the national rights of Aboriginal peoples and Quebec to self-determination, up to and including secession. Relations of equality and justice must be the a basis for united action of youth and students, including Aboriginal youth, across the country, and should be a principle also re-enforced in a Charter of the rights of youth. We see solidarity and support for aboriginal peoples self-determination and struggles as an essential part of any vision of a better Canada, and a socialist future.

Sisters in spirit, we march with you!

Central Executive Committee, YCL-LJC
February, 2011

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