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Reflecting on Canada Day: CMHA Ottawa’s Commitment to Supporting Indigenous Mental Health

On July 1, CMHA Ottawa joins many across the country in reflecting on Canada’s past and future. While many celebrate, we recognize that for Indigenous peoples in Canada, this day is a time of mourning rather than celebration.

“Canada” represents a settler-colonial project that is ongoing, and has a legacy of systemic racism that continues to cast a long shadow, rooted in history marked by violence, discrimination, and cultural genocide against Indigenous communities in Canada. These harsh realities persist, profoundly impacting the mental health and well-being of Indigenous people every day.

The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action were created to advance the process of reconciliation, however the Yellowhead Institute’s 2023 status update revealed that zero actions were completed in the last year. The update also reveals that in total only 13 of the 94 actions have been completed since the release of the calls to action in 2015.

In our ongoing commitment to advancing reconciliation, CMHA branches across Ontario continue to forge meaningful partnerships with Indigenous organizations and leaders. These collaborations focus on the development and implementation of culturally relevant programs and services.

We are dedicated to supporting Indigenous-led mental health initiatives within communities, honouring Indigenous healing practices, and adopting approaches rooted in cultural safety and self-determination. We believe that by working together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

For further reading, we encourage you to download the Yellowhead Institute report, Calls to Action Accountability: A 2023 Status Update on Reconciliation. You may also review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) reports.

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