OASW Acknowledges National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous History Month

OASW honours National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous History Month. Today and throughout June, we celebrate the rich heritage and diverse cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis People.

As we commemorate Indigenous history and contributions, we would be remiss to not also recognize that Indigenous communities continue to mourn the loss of children and generations to residential schools. As a profession, social work cannot ignore its complicity in these systems of historical and ongoing colonization. Collective recognition and commitment to action are essential to meaningful steps towards reconciliation. 

In addition to acknowledging profound grief, we encourage social workers to reflect on the substantial contributions to art, community and culture by Indigenous Peoples, including in the field of social work and Indigenous social work. Through increasing our understanding of Indigenous histories, resistance and innovation, we also expand our awareness of the immense strength and resiliency of Indigenous Peoples. This is made all the more remarkable given the legacy and ongoing impacts of colonization and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada.

We call on non-Indigenous social workers to participate in National Indigenous Peoples Day by committing to continuous learning about Indigenous history and culture. Reconciliation requires us to develop cultural humility while recognizing Indigenous rights and self-determination. Commitment and solidarity can include familiarizing yourself with the Calls to Action of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (PDF), supporting Indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, performers, and services in your community. Celebrating and honouring Indigenous Peoples must include restoring commitment to action and increasing our understanding of the many diverse nations of Indigenous Peoples that share this land. 

We especially wish to recognize Indigenous social workers across Ontario and their invaluable contributions to advancing social justice and community well-being.

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About OASW
OASW is the voice of social work in Ontario. It is a voluntary, bilingual, non-profit association representing approximately 7250+ social workers. All members have a university degree in social work at the bachelor, master or doctoral level. OASW works to actively speak on behalf of social workers on issues of interest to the profession and advocates for the improvement of social policies and programs directly affecting social work practice and client groups served.