Commitment, action, education.
As the proceedings of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) draw to a close, Jewish community organizations from across Canada have come together to commit to action, support, and education to foster closer ties and stronger understanding between the First Nations people of Canada and the Jewish community.
The final proceeding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) provides many Canadian Jewish community organizations a context and an opportunity to formally express our solidarity with Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) of Canada. This statement is a call to action for Jewish Canadians, as individuals and as a community -to build bridges and relationships in our generation, to ensure a just and equitable future for all.
Jewish Obligation to Pursue Social Justice
The pursuit of a just society is a fundamental concept at the core of Judaism. We, the signees, are motivated by the Jewish values of compassion, sharing, repairing-the-world, and working towards justice for all. We therefore commit to a high level of meaningful action in partnership and solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
Common Experiences and Values
The shared experiences between Jewish and Indigenous communities offer a foundation of mutual understanding, and unity. Our common histories include persecution, intimidation, forced assimilation and discrimination. These realities bind our two communities. We believe that our mutual values of family, language, culture, elders, and spiritual and ritual preservation - along with the connections to self-determination, kinship and homeland - bring our voices and communities together.
Acknowledging the Past and Present to Fuel Change in Conditions
Historically, Indigenous Peoples experienced traumatic social change, institutional violence, and prolonged attempts to forcibly assimilate them into the Canadian whole. Today, Indigenous Peoples face disproportionately lower socio-economic conditions as compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. There are dramatic disparities in the areas of education, health and well-being, life expectancy, employment, housing, living conditions, average income, access to social services, and over-representation in the justice and social assistance systems. It is important to bring to light an understanding of the history and legacy of these policies, including the Residential School System, in order to achieve a just society.
Partnership for a Just Future
We believe that partnership and relationship-building must be based on mutual respect, cooperation and understanding. On both the community and individual level, we commit to develop partnerships as a means of celebrating diversity and learning from our respective cultures, unique heritage and traditional knowledge. Through patient and respectful dialogue, we will build capacity in our community for collective participation in promoting social justice together with Indigenous Peoples.
"Justice, justice you shall pursue.
The Torah: Deuteronomy 16:20.
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call to ACTION.
We, the signees, commit ourselves to meaningful public education in the Jewish community and beyond and outreach to Indigenous communities to guide us to help improve the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples. We encourage all Jews to build bridges and explore the similarities that bind all humanity, accepting and rejoicing in the differences that make us unique and in the diversity that enriches us all.