Some Yukoners are taking National Truth and Reconciliation Day a step further this week by sending money to Indigenous people who don’t take time off.
The Yukon Helpers Network is asking for donations of $ 150, enough to cover a day of babysitting or allow someone to take an unpaid day off on Thursdays to attend local events.
The new federal holiday of September 30 only applies to public service workers and certain companies that decide to observe it. By law, the holiday will honor residential school survivors and their families, as public commemoration of these atrocities “remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Elena Joss, a Government of Yukon employee, kicked off the local fundraising campaign by posting on the Yukon Helpers Network Facebook page.
Joss hasn’t always worked for the public service. For many years, her jobs in the private sector meant that she didn’t always have statutory holidays, unlike her children in school. Joss would therefore have to find daycare for the day.
She said she imagines that many aboriginal people who do not work for the public service are doing the same this week.
“It’s not just about child care, it’s about First Nations people in general,” Joss said. “If we take a day off, they should take a day off. If that means giving up a day off, we should do it. That day is for them.”
Joss reached out to Ashley Fewer, founder of the Yukon Helpers Network, to see if the group would support her fundraising idea.
Less said the initiative, while speaking of reconciliation in general, was “very close and dear to his heart.”
“It’s a really delicate holiday that they are proposing, that people who work for the government, who are not native people, get a holiday,” Fewer said. “When [Joss] brought the idea to us, it was definitely something we wanted to support. ”
Less said it had received a dozen donations over the past few days from Yukoners – and she hoped to see more before Thursday.
Those interested in applying for funding are urged to contact the Yukon Helpers Network via Facebook, with a message explaining their situation on the federal holiday. The money would then be sent via online payment, cash or direct deposit.
The Yukon Helpers Network will accept donations until Thursday. Anything received after that will go to Indigenous-led organizations, Fewer said.
Next year, Fewer said the Yukon government may consider other ways to honor survivors and their families, such as reallocating employee wages for that day off to Indigenous-run charities.