06/21/21: Today, I am proud to recognize National Indigenous Peoples Day - a day to recognize and celebrate the cultures and contributions of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
Quote: "Speaking on TheRoyGreen Show yesterday on a diversity panel that included an Indigenous leader, I expressed on behalf of the Jewish community and all Canadians our heartbreak upon hearing the news of 215 remains of children buried at a residential school in Kamloops British Columbia".
I expressed that the pain and suffering of the past all the way into our present time is immeasurable and as Canadians we stand in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of this land.
This day is especially important for all Canadians to recognize the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. However, we must acknowledge there is much work to be done including implementation of recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, Terry Teegee expressed to the Vancouver Sun that this is a day of reflection and contemplation, given the mourning of the 215 children found in unmarked graves in Kamloops.
According to a statement released by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
“Under the residential school system, at least 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly separated from parents and communities, and carried off to places where their languages and culture were prohibited in an attempt to intentionally eliminate them. These children suffered emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission also reported that thousands of children who were sent to these schools never returned home. The exact number of children who died may never be known and, devastatingly, many parents never found out what happened to their children. This intergenerational trauma experienced by families continues to today and we must continue to ensure that the necessary supports for those who have been retraumatized by the recent events are provided. We must never forget those innocent souls lost – this must be our collective commitment toward reconciliation".
Today and everyday we stand in solidarity with the First Nation, Inuit and Metis Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
- 30 -
ABOUT: Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities, was founding President and CEO of a major organization in the Jewish community, has raised over $150 million for charities and is a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree, Ph.D. coursework and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights.
As a supporter of Israel, he is proud to have established "The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security" at Haifa University.